People-Watching in Ancient Israel (And Seeing Myself)

Photographer Itamar Grinberg, Courtesy of Israel Tourism

Photographer Dana Friedlander, Courtesy of Israel Tourism

On a sleepy snowy morning this week, I cuddled under my covers for the last ten minutes of sleep. My husband had just slipped off to work, and my teens showered and dressed on their own. Cracking open the bedroom door, my four year old said, “Mom?…Dad said I can get you if I need you.”

“Sure, Daniel, what do you need?”

“Nuffing, just come!”

Five minutes into his time alone, he missed me, craving relationship, companionship, closeness.

Fresh into reading the New Testament again now –after years of tracing my way slowly through the Old Testament, trying to read it with fresh eyes as if I had never seen it before — I am once again asking the Author to bring his word alive to me. Abba, open my eyes, help me to see you in a new way, teach me.

Pulling my hot tea close, I grab a pen, my journal, and crack open the New Testament, eager to meet this God-Man Messiah I have been reading ancient parchments about for years. Jesus, teach me who you are, show me you anew.

I find myself people-watching in ancient Israel. 

  • People are amazed after hearing the Carpenter’s Son speak for hours. Instead of racing home for food and a nap, they follow him. Large crowds walk behind him, eager to hear what he’ll say next. 
  • This God-Man stands out from the other teachers and leaders the people are used to hearing, and he speaks with authority.
  • The infectious, the ill, the needy follow him. “Jesus, if you are willing, you can make me clean.” Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean.”

And suddenly five minutes into being alone here in snowy Minnesota with my tea, I have missed him –this Carpenter’s Son– and crave relationship, companionship, closeness. Crowds follow him, amazed by him, craving closeness with him.

The needy follow him. And I see myself there, echoing these words. “Lord, if you are willing…”

And the God-Man never tires, never gets “peopled-out.” He reaches out a hand, says “I’m willing!” and touches us.

Linking with Ann at A Holy Experience

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  1. Unknown on March 19, 2013 at 8:47 pm

    Your post makes me think of the newish song on the radio by Tenth Avenue North called "Worn"…
    My prayers are wearing thin; Yeah, I’m worn
    Even before the day begins; Yeah, I’m worn
    I’ve lost my will to fight; I’m worn
    So, heaven come and flood my eyes

    Sometimes I wish that Jesus was physically present because it would be such a relief to touch the hem of His cloak today. OOOH… I feel a post coming on.

    Thank you for your visit and always thoughtful comment. 🙂

  2. Wise Hearted on March 19, 2013 at 11:42 pm

    Good thoughts Jennifer to take to my bible study. I will have to listen to the song your friend wrote about, Worn. The title catches my heart strings for I have felt "worn" at times from the battles. It wonderful to know the Lord felt that sometimes for He had to pull away from the crowd to seek His Father face. Pray all is well.

  3. Jayne on March 20, 2013 at 7:40 pm

    I love to people watch, but I never thought about it in the context of the Bible. Thank you for a new perspective.

  4. Chris on March 21, 2013 at 3:33 am

    Hi Jennifer, just stopping by to say how delightful your blog is. Thanks so much for sharing. I have recently found your blog and am now following you, and will visit often. Please stop by my blog and perhaps you would like to follow me also. Have a wonderful day. Hugs, Chris

  5. Unknown on March 21, 2013 at 4:39 am

    So rich. I have been peopled out all week as it's been a depressing and hard one but he always seemed to have the energy. I love to people watch too and tell stories about the bits I'm seeing… never quite sure if those stories are even remotely accurate but it's entertaining!

  6. Dolly@Soulstops on March 21, 2013 at 5:05 am

    love that you are seeking Him, and that He is always willing to be found…thanks for your kind encouragement over at my blog…blessings to you, Jennifer 🙂

  7. Unknown on March 21, 2013 at 12:33 pm

    I've been tired of the neediness of my family lately. I often think of the time Jesus went to get away from the crowd, and they followed him, and he taught. Even exhausted he knew that God would meet their need through them. Thanks for the sweet reminder that all things, through Christ, can be done.

  8. Unknown on March 21, 2013 at 6:15 pm


    He never ges "peopled out". I love this. It is so true and so unlike me.

    I also love the idea of people watching from scripture…. or even literature.

    Thank you for sharing your observations. May you be blessed in your relating to your sweet children and your littlest one… craving relationship and pointing you towards your Savior all the while. 🙂


  9. LOLITA on March 22, 2013 at 1:41 am

    Yes, this speaks a lot to me. It is just amazing how He never asserts but knocks softly. He waits instead of bardging in. He always waits for our call, just like how he responded to Peter's "Lord, save me!" moment while going down the water. And He reaches out.

    Yes, it is nice to find ourselves around Him, following Him, listening to His parables of life.

    Thanks, Jen.

  10. Jennifer Dougan on March 26, 2013 at 2:35 am


    I'm not familiar with that Tenth Ave North song. I like their "Beloved song though.

    Thanks for stopping in.


  11. Jennifer Dougan on March 26, 2013 at 2:38 am


    Yes, that song is new to me too. I'm sorry that you are felling worn this week. May your Bible study time have been sweet this last week, and may you feel our Abba's rest sinking deep into you. 🙂


  12. Jennifer Dougan on March 26, 2013 at 2:43 am


    So nice to have you stop by here.


  13. Jennifer Dougan on March 26, 2013 at 2:47 am


    You are so sweet. Thank you. I'm glad you enjoy my blog and I am always happy to get to know more bloggers! I am eager to stop by yours and say hi. Nice to have you here.

    Jennifer Dougan

  14. Jennifer Dougan on March 26, 2013 at 2:51 am

    Court Dan,

    Thanks for stopping by here. Please forgive my delay in replying.

    I'm sorry for your depressing and hard week. I have those sometimes too. Is it going any better today? I love that our Abba Dad never runs out of time or energy for us. He loves you, he delights in you, and he is there- waiting, listening, sustaining you.

    Thanks for stopping in.

    Jennifer Dougan

  15. Jennifer Dougan on March 26, 2013 at 2:53 am


    Thanks for hopping in here this week. Always fun to talk with you.


  16. Jennifer Dougan on March 26, 2013 at 2:57 am


    Thanks for your honesty here. That tired feeling of being followed, tired, needed.. yes, we women can all relate. 🙂 I'm glad my post here helped, and may the Father of our spirits breathe strength and energy deep inside you and me today.

    Appreciate you,

  17. Jennifer Dougan on March 26, 2013 at 2:59 am


    It's lovely to meet you. Thank you for stopping by.

    Jennifer Dougan

  18. Jennifer Dougan on March 26, 2013 at 3:03 am


    Your image of him as gentle, waiting, and polite are lovely to me tonight.

    Have a great week.


  19. Rhonda on March 27, 2013 at 1:20 pm

    Thanks for stopping by my blog! So it was fun coming over to meet you and I can see I love your heart already! Ancient Israel… great post! I like what Lolita said. You painted the image of him beautifully. …And you are beautiful Jennifer.

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