I’ve been postponing giving the details and plans for our November ’22 trip to Israel because of the strict Covid requirements for travelers as they enter the country of Israel. I’d like to postpone for just a few more days, as rumor has it (and it is just rumor, right now) that the vaccination requirements may be lifted in the very near future. I want to ask you to pray that, as decisions are made about November, His providence will be on every plan and purpose. I will let you know as soon as possible. I’m committed to going this year IF the vaccine/quarantine restrictions are lifted. If it seems that the virus restrictions will impose on our time there, we will immediately plan our trip for sometime in mid to late 2023. We will give details about the deposits of those who have already paid being refunded or re-applied at the time of our final announcement.
For today, I want to think about the synagogue that we saw in 2019 in the city of Magdala. I remember being amazed at the blessing of our DD trip being in the year 2019, just six years after the excavation of the synagogue of Magdala was completed. So many people I love have paid dearly to travel to Israel in past decades and they could not even visit several of the places to which we were privileged to go. God’s secrets of Biblical authenticity have been “buried treasures” hidden beneath the surface of the dust from which he made man, the dust He can cleave to swallow those who show Him contempt (Numbers 16), the dust in which the Son of God scribbled (John 8) and under which His body was temporarily placed. Buried beneath the surface of His dust, mere men can dig still today and unearth entire villages that have not been seen for hundreds of years. It’s still happening in Israel today! Faith is strengthened by the moving of God’s dust.
The excavation occurred only 8-12 years ago. The Migdal synagogue in Magdala is the oldest synagogue in the Galilee region, dating all the way back to the Second Temple Period. (The second temple was constructed during the days of Zechariah, Haggai and Malachi and was the temple in and around which Jesus and the apostles taught and worked many wonders.) Of course, the synagogue in Magdala was operative in the days of the Messiah and likely was visited by Mary Magdalene, as it was located in her hometown.
Did Jesus visit the synagogue at Magdala? Did he walk on the flooring pictured above? It seems likely to me, since Magdala was located on the path that Christ likely took between his hometown of Nazareth and the area of Capernaum, in which he did most of his teaching and performed many miracles.
Perhaps Jesus saw the amazing Magdala stone which has the seven-branched candlestick (Exodus 25:31-37) carved clearly on its face–the oldest drawing of the Menorah outside of Jerusalem. I would be surprised if He did not see it. Sitting there in Magdala and looking down on the synagogue that stood well before and throughout the days of our Lord, I could not help but be moved by the “largeness” of our God who continues to shout from Israel the authenticity of the work of His Spirit.