When you find out that most if not all of your preconceptions are misconceptions it leaves you reeling. The first time I woke up in Israel I struggled to believe all that I was seeing. I felt as though I had stepped foot out of the Matrix and into “The Real”. There was nothing that was what I expected. Not a single thing.
We boarded our bus and met Yaniv, our guide and soon to be our good friend. He took us to Caesarea by the Sea. It was a confusing time as we left Tel Aviv and arrived at a place that was over 2,000 years old. This is the kind of confusion that leaves you scratching your head and unsure of what you are seeing.
It turns out that Israel is a place of paradox. You never can quite get your mind around it. It is a living and breathing postmodern experience. What is new is old and what is oldest is often times new.
The ruins of Caesarea were like nothing that I had ever experienced. They were almost unreal. I felt like I had stepped into one of those coffee table books that you find at your great aunt’s house and you start looking at because you can’t touch anything else.
Only here you could touch.
It was a round the winter of 1996 that I began to truly study the Scriptures with tenacity. I was particularly drawn to the person and writings of Paul. He was almost a mystical figure to me.
I stood in the very place Paul did when he left for his journey to Rome. I saw the place where he was held prisoner prior to leaving.
Paul has now become a very real person for me. He became very real in a place that is a living paradox of new and old.