So, we went to take some out of town friends down to the Baptism site on Saturday and to our surprise found that the Israeli site opposite is open. What surprised us, though, isn’t that the site was finally open. It was the apparent purpose of their new facility. I couldn’t help snap a picture of the people we found using the site. As you will notice, these are not religious pilgrims at the Jordan River for a spiritual experience. These are Israeli sun-seekers out for an afternoon swim. All of the visitors spoke in Hebrew and the kids had a riotously loud and raucous time. Oh, and I don’t mind that as a tribute to the good weather, but rather as a tribute to the bad taste of the Israelis.
During the time we were there, a Bishop from England was trying to do a study and worship experience for his tour group. So, over the sounds of frolicking children, he explained the religious significance of the site and then began a service. On the plus side, the singing of his group of tourists drowned out the sounds of the children splashing about. But I ask you, why would any Christian provide blind devoted following of a group of people who so disrespects them?
Most people who visit the Baptismal site do so as part of a trip to see where Jesus was baptized. They continue on along and see the current path of the Jordan River. The whole site is a spiritual experience of some meaning. Having loud, obnoxious day trippers 5 feet away rather degrades the experience. It’s one more small and calculated way that the Israelis disrespect everyone else. After all, they could have put this totally non-religious site anywhere along the Jordan River. If they wanted a swimming hole, better they had put it at a wider spot with more water available for the kids, right? There’s lots of river out there, so why the rudeness?
From a seemingly small annoyance to a major showcase of their intractability and hatred for Christians… have you heard about the “illegal” Bishop of Jerusalem? The Jordan Times has a brief mention here and a more full article is available here. Basically, the current Anglican Bishop of Jerusalem, Suheil Dawani had his residence permit for Jerusalem revoked. The Cathedral is in East Jerusalem which the Israelis claim, but the world does not recognize as theirs. So, the Bishop is left without legal right to reside and preside over the Diocese that he has been elected to run.
And American Christians support these thugs? Seriously? Wake up, ladies and gentlemen. See what this government is and what it does. The Palestinians are placed in untenable positions and then we, as a people, don’t understand why their frustration runs high enough to turn to armed resistance. My fondest hope is that one day Americans will look for themselves. Spend 10 minutes and you can find information on the terrorism practiced by the Israeli state. They will account, in the after-life for their actions, but remember as Christians, so will we. It is a timely lesson for each of us to remember.