A TALE OF TWO POOLS
| By Martin Shoub |
|The Meshushim Pool|
The pool is named after the hexagon shaped basalt pillars that line the cliff sides along the north end of the pool. The view is prestigious but we have not come here only to admire the beauty of God's creation. There is still a bite in the February air but assistant congregational leader Avishalom Teklehaimanot, young adults leader, Dima Kravtsov and a young soldier, Eli A. dutifully strip down to shorts and wade in up to their waists. Today, Eli is making a public declaration of his faith in Yeshua HaMashiach through the ancient ritual of immersion.
|Eli testifying of God's grace|
Eli, Avi and Dima towel up and change into dry clothes. Eli gathers us together to tell his story. Life in Israel for Eli and his family has been tough and fraught with difficulties. When Eli was a young boy his father was jailed for drug use and criminality. His mother raised him with a strong sense of Jewish identity but could not provide the answers to his seeking heart. As a teenager Eli saw the vain pursuits of his peers and concluded life was not worth living. He meticulously began to plot his own death. Before going through with suicide Eli reached out to the God of Israel one last time. He knelt in the street and called on Adonai to reveal Himself.
Unbeknownst to Eli, one of his good friends was a messianic believer. Unsure of how Eli might react he hadn't told him of his faith. One night, shortly after Eli's desperate prayer, Yeshua visited this same young believer in a dream. Yeshua told him to go "and speak all the words of this life" to Eli. When Eli heard the gospel and how Yeshua had visited his friend he realized God had answered his prayer.
Eli's mother was distraught over his faith in Yeshua. She enlisted the anti-Messianic group Yad L'Achim to try and convince Eli of the error of his ways. Undaunted by their arguments and accusations Eli stayed true to the Messiah who loved him. Eli's mother would not relent, she forbade her son to attend Tents of Mercy. Eli obediently waited two years - until he came of age before he joined us for Shabbat services. Eli's mother has softened over the years as she has observed the godly character of her son.
BBQs and BAPTISMS
|Dima and Avishalom|
While the grillers are tending the fires we are joined by guests. Two orthodox men have come to the pool to make a mikvah (a ceremonial washing). Without much fanfare they stripped off their clothes, jumped in the pool, said a quick prayer and then immersed themselves repeatedly. Out they hopped, clothes back on, a brief cigarette break and they were on their way. What a picture; all I could think about was how I wish I had witnessed this in my Bible college days - that would have put a speedy end to the superfluous sprinkle versus immersion debate!
Baptism is a very sensitive subject among our people. Many Jews believe immersion in the name of Yeshua is the embarkation line between Judaism and Christianity. Two hours earlier a brother was immersed with the help of his friends to declare he had been made clean by the death of Yeshua and raised up to a new life in God through Him. Now, two of our kinsmen were immersing themselves in keeping with the Torah and in line with a centuries old tradition as an act of faith in God's cleansing power. This is not some strange and foreign ritual, the thread of hope and redemption remains unbroken through the years. But how much greater meaning and power was evident witnessing Eli's immersion; this young man who had stood faithful through so much adversity, joyfully declaring to his brothers (and some Israeli tourists) that he belonged to Yeshua and would serve Him forever.
|Y'gal calling on the name of God|
As Ygal shared so eloquently and forcefully I marveled at the depth in this young man. Where did he learn such wisdom? Where did Eli gain such faith as a young man to overcome such opposition? In Eli and Ygal I was seeing first hand two young men who displayed a burgeoning faith that is being prepared to shake the world. Oasis has dedicated several stories this last year to the testimonies of young Israelis. My experience at the two pools only serves to reinforce the promise and hope of this generation. Another thread of our heritage is being rewoven. God is raising up young Davids and Josephs to scatter enemies and bring salvation.
|Let us know what you think - why not comment to this article. The authors of these articles are often involved in intense ministry and are thus unable to respond to most comments. As is normal with print and online magazines, Tikkun reserves the right to publish only those comments we feel are edifying in tone and content.|
Also in this issue of the newsletter:
|Dr. Daniel Juster: A New Holocaust|
|Moshe Morrison: What Was, Is: Passover Reflections|
|Eddie and Jackie Santoro: View From Jerusalem|
|Asher Intrater: David's Greater Son|