The strangest sight in Israel

We bumped down the runway. This was happening. Although I’d spent months in anticipation of this moment, my heart had longed for The Holy Land much longer. I searched for a glimpse of what’s to come, but the small airplane window offered no insight. Settling my heart, I reminded myself that I’d come here without agenda—simply opening my heart to surprise, wonder, and learning.

Our first stop was Jaffa. Maya, our sweet tour guide shared her thoughts. 

“Jonah ended up inside the belly of a fish because he was running from God. Jonah didn’t want to see. What area in your own life have you ran from God, not wanting to see?”

My eyes welled. Why haven’t I ended up inside of a fish?

Headed toward the City of Tel Aviv, my mind swirled.

View of Tel Aviv from Jaffa

Jonah eventually got to Nineveh and the people repented. How long had it taken me to get where God wanted me to go?

The next day, I was in an ancient Roman theater in Caesarea. 

The Apostle Paul preached there in chains. Paul didn’t let his circumstance change his mission. I blinked away tears. Had I allowed circumstances to thwart my mission?

The Golan Heights revealed a story of Israel fighting for the Holy Land. Maya shared history, archeology, and scripture. She told us about Eli Cohen the spy who helped win the land back. 

That night, in the ancient synagog, we took communion. My eyes dampened as the question blew across my heart. Have I fought the good fight, well?

Under a Jewish Huppah, in the Land of Cana, where Jesus performed the first miracle at a wedding ceremony—water to wine—we renewed our vows to each other and to The Lord. I flat out cried. How can I more humbly become the wife and woman of God that He is shaping me to be?

Cana Wedding Ceremony

On a “Jesus boat” on the Sea of Galilee I wondered, If The Master called me toward Him, would I undoubtedly step out on the water in faith?

Sea of Galilee
King David Boat

Toward the end of our trip, we entered the Old City of Jerusalem. We walked through The Lion’s Gate. 

Old Jerusalem

As I snapped a picture of the sign, a thought came rushing back. 

God had been repeatedly showing me images of a lion. I didn’t understand the meaning. Until this very day. 

In 1967, the Israelites entered the Lion’s Gate and reclaimed God’s beloved, Holy City. The lion symbolizes a sign of reclamation and reconciliation. God was telling me through the “signs of the lion,” that reclamation and reconciliation would come in His perfect timing…and now had come.

From a deep place of gratitudeI whispered, “Thank you.” A tear formed.

These are just a few of many sacred moments from the various places we visited in The Holy Land. But the strangest sight in Israel was our tour guide, Maya. What was it about her? 

The laugh, the love, the compassion…I’d seen this somewhere, but where? And then, I remember imagining it, feeling it, and witnessing it through the Bible—in Jesus. 

The most profound sight in Israel was being in the sweet presence of Maya—this beautiful woman we spent ten days with. She’s the true reflection of our Lord and Savior. Perhaps, my deepest lesson of all. 



  1. Sandy on January 6, 2020 at 1:28 pm

    Loved all the pics — especially the one of the Jesus boats of the Sea of Galilee —- all of them bring back precious memories. I love how you describe Mya your tour guide —- I loved our guide as well. So glad you got to go on this trip!!!! We need to met soon to share our memories! Love you my friend! Israel will always be in our hearts now!

    • Dawna Hetzler on January 6, 2020 at 4:27 pm

      I tried to implement all your photo tips, but I was so exited to be there, I just snapped away. Yes, we need to catch up. I miss you too!

  2. Jennifer Waddle on January 7, 2020 at 11:08 am

    Wow! I LOVE this post, my friend. What renewal took place in your life. I am in awe of the goodness of God!!!

    • Dawna Hetzler on January 7, 2020 at 12:17 pm

      A renewal indeed! Thank you for your continual support reading my words.