Last week, Feed the Hunger took 17 people to Israel for a tour through the Holy Land. The ages of those on the team ranged from teens to 70s. For most of us it was our first time in Israel, and for all of us it was a bucket-list kind of trip. We were there for eight days, spending half the trip touring around the Sea of Galilee and the other half walking through the streets of Jerusalem and the surrounding towns.
During our time at the Sea of Galilee we saw places like Mount Carmel, the Valley of Jezreel, Cana, Capernaum, Tiberias, Nazareth, Caesarea, and Megiddo. It was such a surreal experience. Imagine standing on top of Mount Carmel and reading from 1 Kings 18, about Elijah defeating the prophets of Baal, while standing in the very place it happened. Or walking through the streets of Cana where Jesus performed His first miracle, turning water into wine. It truly made the stories from the Bible come alive.
One of my favorite moments was taking a boat across the Sea of Galilee. It was on this sea that Jesus calmed the storm and walked on water. It was on this shore that Jesus made breakfast for His disciples and asked Peter, “Do you love me?”
We traveled with a guide, and something he said multiple times was, “It’s not the where, it’s the what.” He continually reminded us not to focus on the ground we were standing on, but on the miracles Jesus performed there, the teachings He gave, and the spotless and blameless life He lived. And all this so that He could bear our sins on the cross and be the perfect sacrifice that would make us righteous before our great God.
The last half of the trip was spent traveling through Jerusalem and the surrounding cities. We traveled into the town of Bethlehem and saw the traditional site of Jesus’ birth. We stood on Shepherd’s Hill where the angel appeared and announced the Messiah’s birth. We saw the Mount of Temptation where Jesus was tempted by Satan. And we drove through the Valley of the Shadow of Death—the place David wrote about in Psalm 23.
Every place we stopped shed more and more light onto the Scriptures and opened our eyes to the power of God’s Word.
However, one of the most impactful moments from our time in Jerusalem was our Saturday morning in the Garden Tomb. The tomb sits at the base of Golgotha, and many believe it to be the place where Jesus’ body was laid after His death. After our tour guide walked us around the garden and we had the chance to go into the empty tomb, we met in a little chapel for a time of singing and reading of the Word. Together, the 18 of us lifted our voices and sang the old hymn “How Marvelous.” The words never held more meaning for me than they did in that moment.
How marvelous, how wonderful!
And my song shall ever be:
How marvelous, how wonderful!
Is my Savior’s love for me!
I don’t think there was a dry eye in the room as we sang and reflected on the sacrifice Jesus made for us. Then Joseph Williams shared a word the Lord has given him about God’s cleansing work within our lives.
The last thing we did was take communion together. I can’t fully express what that was like. There we were, standing by the Garden Tomb, taking His body and blood that was broken and shed for us. I have taken communion hundreds of times and, unfortunately, I think it can become routine and ordinary for Christians if we aren’t careful. But praise God—in that moment the Lord renewed my love for His communion and brought a new and fresh understanding to the sacraments, and I imagine He did the same for most of us in the garden that day.
I cannot express enough how thankful I am for this trip and for all the lessons God taught me while we toured the Holy Land. Our hope at Feed the Hunger is that God gives us opportunity to make this a more regular trip. Those of us who went can testify to the life-changing work God did while we were in Israel, and if we ever go again, I would highly recommend you sign up and join us for a walk through The Holy Land.
Caleb Fox | Logistics Manager