April 29, 2014

Pilgrimage

As I was looking through this book again and reading everything I underlined, I realized how much Lynn Austin's words matched Brother Yun's words from my post last week.

Love and Obedience to Jesus, the Living Water, being the themes once again.


Lynn travels to Israel and shares her experiences and thoughts as she visits sites throughout the land.

Through these chapters we visit:

1. Leaving Home and Ho-Hum
2. The Wilderness of Zin
3. The Judean
4. Crossing the Jordan
5. Jerusalem
6. The Temple Mount
7. Holy Week
8. The Judean Countryside
9. Galilee
10. The Far North
11. Sabbath Rest
12. Going Home

Lynn describes these places vividly and I felt I was there with her, but even more importantly the truths she applies from God's Word throughout the book are brought to life.

Many of her stories made me want to go back and read my Bible and learn more about the places and people God used to reveal Himself to us.

I thought I'd share just one story from her chapter on her visit to Jerusalem.

While in Jerusalem Lynn talks about the city walls and the protection they were expected to bring. How we often put our trust in man-made things and how these thing ultimately can't save us. She says here:

"So often, I'm tempted to build my own fortresses and rely on my own provisions for security. Money in the bank becomes my reservoir in times of drought. I trust my retirement plan to protect my future instead of seeing God as my security. 

When I place my trust only in things that I can see with my eyes and touch with my hands, that's idolatry, whether I'm putting my faith in an engraved image or a savings account.

Like Hezekiah and Nehemiah, I should remember that 'God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea.' (Psalm 46:1-2). Or the stock market crashes. Or a tornado strikes. God never promised to protect me from all my trails, but He did promise to be with me in the midst of them."

Later she visits Hezekiah's tunnel and the Pool of Siloam. A tunnel and pool Hezekiah built 700 years before Christ. The pool was later expanded by King Herod and the remains are still visible today. This is the pool Jesus asked the blind man to wash the mud off his eyes, and where Jesus healed him.

Hezekiah's Tunnel leading to the Pool of Siloam

Lynn says here:

"For a rabbi who shunned publicity, Jesus seems to have chosen a very public place to send someone for a miracle - especially on the Sabbath. Once news of this miracle spread, I imagine a stampede of sight-impaired people rushing to the Pool of Siloam, thinking that the water was the source of the cure when the true source was Jesus.

This pool was part of a very important ritual during the feast of Tabernacles, which included prayer for rain for the coming year. As crowds of worshipers followed and watched, a procession of robed priests drew water from the Pool of Siloam, then carried it up the hill to the Temple and poured it out around the alter. There the crowd listened in hushed silence as a priest read the prophecy of Zechariah, who had promised that living water would one day flow out from Jerusalem (Zechariah 14:8).

Remains of the Pool of Siloam

Imagine the priests' shock when, in the middle of this sacred ritual, Jesus suddenly stood up in a prominent place and interrupted the proceedings, shouting in a loud voice, 

'If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.' (John 7:37:38).

I wonder which made the priests angrier - the fact that Jesus disrupted their finely rehearsed ritual with His invitation, or that He dared to compare himself to living water?"

Oh how I would have loved to have been there! Jesus standing up and proclaiming in a loud voice that , he is the Living Water!

She continues here:

"'Living water' flows from natural, God-given source such as a stream or a spring. Only living water may be used for ritual baths and purification ceremonies, which is why John baptized in a flowing river and why the priests drew water from the spring-fed Pool of Siloam. but Israel's leaders had rejected Jesus, the Living Water, and relied instead on their own lifeless rules and rituals for their righteousness. God told these leaders, 'My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water.' (Jeremiah 2:13).

Cisterns are man-made holes, plastered and filled by hand. The water they hold is not 'living.' Cisterns must be patched and repaired and refilled or all the water will disappear. The loss might start with a small crack or a fissure; add on months of neglect and the water slowly trickles away. But a 'living' moving source originates with our bountiful, life -giving God. Living water not only purifies; it doesn't run dry.

An Ancient Cistern. This one looks dried up.

Our endless rushing and Pharisaical good works cannot bring righteousness any more than a ritual, without God, can bring rain. Any more than the Pool of Siloam, without Jesus, can bring healing. Yet we insist on using God as a magic charm, trying to do everything just right so our lives will be blessed. The Christian walk isn't about blessing, as I'm learning, but about a relationship - and that relationship is built and established with prayer. 

It's about obedience, even when I don't understand, even when it means a cross.

If I'm empty and dry, maybe it's because I have tried to satisfy my longing from man-made sources instead of allowing the Living Water to fill me. How foolish to expect a church service - with my preferred style of music, of course - to satisfy my soul when spiritual wholeness and healing come from a relationship with Christ, not a ritual. In my loneliness and loss, I have foolishly dug a lot of cisterns and started a lot of useless projects that eventually ran dry. But when my thirsty soul longs for water, my empty heart for healing, I can go to the true Source in prayer and be made whole. And God will freely give, never chastising me for trying to quench my own thirst."

Do you want Living Water in your life that will never run dry? Are you tired of doing this Christian life yourself? Are you ready to rest at His feet and let Him fill you? Do you want that Living Water to flow to others in your life?

Jesus invites:

'If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.' (John 7:37:38).


I thoroughly enjoyed this book, traveling to Israel through Lynn's words, and found the stories and reflections eye-opening. I highly recommend it!


Buy it HERE on Amazon



9 comments:

  1. Hello Cathy, thank you for linking up at A Chosen Remnant today. I am looking at your blog and the one thing that jumped out at me is the one word you chose for 2014 - purposeful. That's been my life theme all year this year. May the Lord help us to become purposeful in our walk with Him instead of just sailing through life and barely hanging on !

    Have a blessed Tuesday !!

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  2. I visited Israel two years ago and enjoyed this book review. I appreciate the scripture references that Lynn Austin has included to illuminate the sites she visited. Looks to be a great read!

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  3. I just picked this up from the library! I can't wait to read it. Thanks for the thorough review. Blessings to you!

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  4. This sounds like a great book. I would love to read it...it's going on my list. Stopping over from Three Word Wednesday.

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  5. This sounds like a cool book! I've seen Lynn Austin's name lots, maybe read one of her books a long time ago (can't remember). Thanks for the review.

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  6. Amei conhecer o seu blog, já fiquei por aqui!!!Achei maravilhoso!!!Visite-me:http://algodaotaodoce.blogspot.com.br/
    Siga-me e pegue o meu selinho!!!

    Obrigada.

    Beijos Marie.

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  7. I'm so happy to be next to you at Janis's this week. I have read brother Yun's book and was greatly impacted by his life. This book sounds so good and I loved the insights you shared.

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  8. Thank-you ladies for stopping by and commenting! It's a wonderful book. Hope you all get a chance to read it! : )

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  9. Well, you are on a role with challenging me with your book reviews! I've thought all week about some of the things you shared from Brother Yun's book, and now I'll be thinking about living water for a while! Thanks so much for sharing this at Booknificent Thursday!
    Tina

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Feel free to leave your own thoughts in the comments. I try to respond to all of them by the end of the week. : )

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