Armchair Walking

Nov 14

Armchair Walking

Sometimes circumstances don’t allow us to physically take a walk – injury, weather, illness. In times like these, “armchair walking” is a great way to go.

I’ve just taken a long armchair walk through the Holy Land by reading Reflections of God’s Holy Land: A Personal Journey Through Israel by Eva Everson, Miriam Vamosh. Fascinating.

I’ve never had the privilege of visiting the Holy Land myself (though it’s on my list of things to do) but after reading this book, I feel as though I’ve really been there.

Relfections of God\'s Holy LandFirst of all, the book is set up like a journey. The authors themselves have done a large part of their tour on foot.

Then there are the pictures – beautiful pictures that show the people, the places, the circumstances – and all laid out in such a way that you feel as if you’re traveling with the authors as they go from place to place.

The two authors have different specialties. Miriam Vamosh is a Jew and an aficionado of Jewish history. For each place visited Miriam writes a section called “Did You Know?” Instead of sharing long, detailed, boring essays on Jewish/Biblical history, she invites you to see and hear fascinating details and sometimes humorous tidbits about the significance of each place. She shares the mysteries surrounding the production of Balsam in Biblical times, and how the production of the precious oil was so secret that they even used contradicting descriptions of the plant so no one would really know where it came from.

She shares the symbolism behind the feeding of the 5,000, shows pictures of the mysteriously blackened stones on Mount Carmel that are reminders of the Holy Fire of Heaven coming down to consume Elijah’s offering, and the fact that Pelicans are an ancient symbol of the Eucharist. Her writing is not that of an historian, but of a gifted story-teller passionate about her subject. She draws me in.

Contrasting this, you have Eva Everson’s reflections of how God speaks to her through Miriam’s stories and through her physical surroundings. You hear how God prompts her spirit to remind her of forgotten promises, to gently nudge her conscience about areas of weakness, and to bring to light an even greater love for her, than she had first imagined.

All in all, this has been a fascinating walk through the Holy Land, led by two amazing and delightful writers.

A definite “must savour” for all for whom the Holy Land holds a special place.


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