I closed my eyes and felt the cooling zephyr wafting off the waters of Joppa’s little harbour. It was easy to imagine Peter, a guest in the home of Simon the tanner, retreating to the roof to pray and receiving a vision from God and a message that turned his entire world-view around – and ultimately opened the way for people beyond the Jews – like me! - to hear the good news of Jesus.
“Do not call anything impure that God has made clean”, said God, preparing Peter’s heart and mind to receive the three messengers, sent by the non-Jewish, God-fearing centurion in Caesarea Maritima, who were at that moment approaching the front door.
Today the old city of Joppa (or Jaffa) is a hive of building activity as the old stone buildings are being restored, and the wealthy come to live where the breezes from the Mediterranean make Israel’s summers bearable.
Check out this ancient “air conditioning” – a wall of clay bottles through which the breeze would have blown to cool the room. A short drive from Tel Aviv towards Jerusalem took us to the Biblical garden of Neot Kedumim (see earlier post) where their entertaining guide Edna held us spellbound as she explained the symbolism of many of the fruits and trees mentioned in the Bible.
Perched next to a 2000 year old cistern she spoke about importance of water, and its symbolism, to the Jews – both now and in the Bible – and with just a little encouragement from the rest of us S courageously volunteered to demonstrate how the Old Testament’s Rachel would have drawn water from the cistern.
Our Biblical lunch at Neot Kedumim was a delicious smorgasbord of tastes – olive oil, sour cream, salads, chick peas, fish, quiche, baklava, sultanas, yoghurt, fig honey and more.