Monthly Archives: March 2009

Friday Photos – “Mayaim Chaim” at Ein Gedi


Jesus often spoke of living water or “mayaim chaim” the water from God that brings life.  This living water is from Ein Gedi,  a beautiful place filled with life in the midst of the Judean wilderness.



Filed under Uncategorized

“Friday Photos”

One of the things you may not know about me is I love taking photos.  Mostly I love landscape and wildlife photography.  I have been thinking about sharing some of the thousands of photos I have taken on my trips to Israel with you and decided that having a “Friday Photo” post may be a great way to do that.  Some of the photos I like simply because of the photo, some may not be a great photo but will have some significance either historically or personally.  My plan is to comment on the photo, or provide a link to some background information for you.

Let me know what you think about this idea, as I love your feedback.


Todays “Friday Photo” is of Masada.  There is too much of a story to tell in a short blog post, so if you don’t know about Masada, take a second to check out the link. 




Filed under Desert, History, Israel, Photo

Jesus did what? Part 2 – “Children’s food for dogs”

Today I want to continue the theme of looking at passages in the Gospels where we find Jesus doing or saying something and are left asking the question “Huh?”  These are passages that we often skip over or misinterpret when sometimes a quick study of the culture can shed a bit of light and turn what appears to be a confusing passage into an amazing lesson that is not that complex.

I believe this is the case for the passage I want to examine today. Mark 15:21-28 deals with the Canaanite woman who comes to Jesus and asks him to heal her daughter.

 Leaving that place, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is suffering terribly from demon-possession.”  Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to him and urged him, “Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us.”  He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.” The woman came and knelt before him. “Lord, help me!” she said. He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to their dogs.” “Yes, Lord,” she said, “but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table. Then Jesus answered, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed from that very hour.

This is a passage I struggled with for a while.  Why is Jesus calling this woman a dog?  Why after that does she continue the conversation?  Why does Jesus change his mind and then heal the girl?  There are lots of questions about this short passage. 

However I have come to understand that this is not really that complicated a passage if we look at it through first century eyes. Jesus was not being rude when he did not interact with the woman, but simply observing the cultural practice that Jewish men did not interact with gentile women.  When we read the story without the cultural understanding we begin to misunderstand this passage at this point.

By the time we get to Jesus’ comment “it is not right to take the children’s food and toss it to the dogs” we have most likely have let our culture interpret this passage for us and are focusing on the wrong things.  Our reaction is probably something like this. “Jesus was really rude when he ignored this woman and made things worse when he called her a dog.”  And we ask ourselves “Huh?  This doesn’t make any sense and doesn’t seem like the Jesus I know.” Continue reading


Filed under History, Jesus, Questions, Scripture

Jesus did what? Part 1 – “let the dead bury their own dead”

Have you ever been reading along in the Gospels and come across a passage where Jesus said or did something and you found yourself asking “Jesus did what?” If I take the time to really read the text, I often find myself asking that and many other questions. I find that the more questions I come up with, the more I interact with the Word, the more interesting it becomes and that I want to dig deeper to find out what it really means.

Over the next few posts I am going to explore some of the passages where Jesus says or does things that make you go “Huh?” We may look at the context of the story in Scripture, other references in the text, the cultural practices of the day, or other resources to help us try to understand the picture Jesus was painting for his original audience and for us.

The first passage I want to look at is from Matthew 8:21-22.

Another disciple said to him, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.”

But Jesus told him, “Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead.”


As I read this passage in the context of the chapter, it seems like a pretty harsh statement by Jesus. A disciple comes up to him and asks to bury his father, and Jesus appears to say if you want to follow me that’s not an option. So does Jesus not care about this disciple’s family and their grief? Could Jesus really be this crass? Or, is something else going on here? Let’s take a look at the cultural setting because I think there is an explanation for Jesus’ statement. Continue reading


Filed under History, Israel, Jesus, Scripture, Uncategorized