I spent the last few days in Israel reflecting on all God had shown me during the short 5 weeks I was able to spend there. I am still finishing my reading of Chris Mitchell’s book, “ISIS, Iran and Israel”. I am in awe of God sovereignty and mercy concerning people and nations that are involved in so much turmoil. Truly the warfare between good and evil, heaven and hell, has come to earth. We live in an extremely volatile world. Yet God is busy blessing and redeeming people in the midst of war and chaos. Chris’ book is encouraging and uplifting while it brings stories of hope and salvation for those very people who are suffering the most under the oppression of radical Islam. That same story was confirmed by many people I encountered during my stay in Israel. God is moving mightily in the Middle East and all over the earth today. The enemy is not happy. Evil has increased in many ways, horrible things are happening. Yet God’s grace abounds just as he promises in the Word of God. Dreams and visions of the Jesus are causing many to come running to faith in him.
I did some prayer walking again on the streets of Abu Ghosh the day before I left. What a joy to greet some of the residents with smiles and hellos as we walked through the steep, narrow, winding paths that function as streets between houses. Flowers, fruits and nut trees grow in every available space in abundance. Olive trees, some still heavy with fruit, are scattered across the steep hillsides in terraces. We were astounded that the rocky ground would yield such abundance as most citrus trees were were laden heavily with fruit that was ready, or just about ready. We continually remarked, “Lord, send more laborers to your harvest!”
Near the center of the village is the spring that flows from the rocks. Today is pours out from a spot between the connecting old mosque and a Crusader period monastery. It has watered the Abu Ghosh valley for thousands of years. Think of that! Such an ancient place, with living water bubbling forth in abundance. A kind young man made a point to speak to us in Hebrew with a warning not to drink from the water. He seemed to think it was poison, yet I was told some locals do get water from there.
Abu Ghosh remains a unique Arab community in Israel. It is a small primarily Muslim community, with a few Jewish and Christian residents and a large contingency of Jewish patrons from Jerusalem who visit the restaurants and shops on Shabbat. The large modern mosque in the valley, primarily financed by the Chechen government, is the second largest mosque in Israel after the Al-Aqsa mosque. It was built in 2014. It remains to be seen what the effect of this very large mosque will have in this small town. There is also a special Israeli-Arab rescue unit, a part of the IDF that is a comprised of volunteers from Abu Gosh. (Be sure to click links for interesting articles and videos describing this historically important town.)
This tiny town has impacted my life and ministry with its unique atmosphere and history. God has burdened my heart for all those along the Isaiah 19 highway that is mentioned in Chapter 19 of the Book of Isaiah in the Bible. God is moving in our day. We must stay tuned to his heartbeat and leading in all our prayers and actions. Please continue to pray for our brothers and sisters in this epicenter of the global conflict in today’s world. Please know that they are praying for you too.