Four quarters divide up the ancient portion of Jerusalem—Jewish, Muslim, Christian, and Armenian. Let me admit I have no idea what the Armenian quarter is other than a name on the map and a section inside old Jerusalem’s city walls.
What I do know is each section represents a search for the true God. Where can I find Him? How can I approach Him? How can I know Him?
In a single day, I covered my head to approach the Western Wall and removed my cap to enter the Church of the Nativity. Hat on, hat off—so which is it?
I am reminded of a conversation between our Elder Brother and a lonely woman going through her daily routine. Jesus sat at a well while his disciples went into a nearby town to get lunch. A woman approached the well to get her supply of water for the day. Alone in the desert with a stranger, the woman walked with uncertain steps.
Our Elder Brother spoke to her when she neared him which surprised her. “How can you a Jew talk to me a Samaritan woman?”
Today this conversation might be: “How can you a Jewish man speak to me an Arabic woman?”
Loosely translated: “Hey, buddy, don’t you have any manners?”
At some point in the conversation, she recognized this was one special man, a holy one, and asked a question that went something like this. “You Jews worship one place. We Samaritans worship another. So who’s right?”
Hat on, hat off—so which is it?
Jesus answered that neither place was the “right” place, “…a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.” (John 4:23-24 NIV).
Based on what I viewed in Jerusalem and our Elder Brother’s words, here are some questions and their answers.
1) Where do I find the ONE? Answer: you don’t. He finds you. Note how Jesus said, “…the Father seeks…”
2) Where does the ONE search for me? Answer: not in a cathedral, a mosque, a temple, or some other physical place but in your heart. He may find us in any of those places but His search plumbs the depth of our hearts.
3) How do I approach the ONE? Answer: in the Spirit and in truth. Think of it this way. You clothe your life, you wrap your heart, in the UNSEEN PRESENCE. That may sound a little too mystical and perhaps it is. But the UNSEEN PRESENCE speaks into our hearts. When we listen to Him and follow His leading, we approach the ONE.
After our group left the Western Wall, the one remaining structure of the former Jewish temple, my friend PK had tears in her eyes. She was deeply moved by the reality of people’s limited search for the ONE in a special place and in a particular way. We both recognized the truth. He finds us wherever we are and we approach Him at any hour and in any condition.
I’m curious. Where has the ONE found you and how have you approached Him?
Two men. Two eternal destinies.
One common hope.
A poignant and compelling portrayal of heaven and hell, with a powerful look at redemption from the perspective of both the lost…and the saved. Well done!–Susan May Warren, best-selling, award-winning author of You Don’t Know Me.
Tarver’s storytelling technique as he takes us along with Nick and Wayne’s journeys through opposite eternal pathways is nothing short of genius. … A must read.–Linda Rondeau, best-selling author of It Really IS A Wonderful Life
Come along with T. Neal Tarver on a roller coaster journey to the afterlife, from the bliss of heaven to the despair of hell.–Dawn Kiefer, Editor, Richland Observer
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