Emily Haworth: Preparing for Israel 2017
The time has finally come for several members of the Shiloh University student body and faculty to travel to Israel! In preparation for our trip, I asked our students how their studies have impacted their excitement for our visit to the Holy Land. For a unique perspective, I reached out to Emily Haworth. Emily participated in the Historical Geography of Israel course as a personal enrichment student over the past several months. This was her first course with the University and her excitement really comes through:
Before I started reading the texts for the Historical Geography of Israel class, my mind’s eye set all of the stories of the Bible against a similar backdrop –a sort of generic desert setting with occasional palm trees. I didn’t understand how much learning about the land would enhance my understanding and appreciation of the scriptures, and had lazily assumed that most of the real locations of these stories had been lost in antiquity. How exciting to be wrong!
While enrolled in the Historical Geography of Israel class, my husband and I have also been leading a Bible study at our church. It has been a deeply meaningful experience to read through the Bible with the ability to put its stories in the real world –not a hazy, vaguely desert-like construction– but the very same real world that I live in. Where I had myopically reduced entire generations to a few sentences, I now imagine the rich, complex, and varied lives of the people who lived the stories of the Bible. They had a real landscape, real weather, real jobs, and lasting impacts on the land their descendants now inhabit.
Later this month, I have the opportunity to put my own two feet on the land that I’ve heard about since I can remember. It’s hard to narrow down the list of what I’m most excited to see. I think, more generally, I’m most excited to just be there. It’s wondrous to think that the very landscape of a nation is a part of God’s promise, that a people’s return to a specific space is a sign of His goodness. I want to walk around in that promise and witness with my own eyes God’s enduring goodness to His people.
It is such a privilege to travel with this unique group of individuals so soon. I feel I have gained an even deeper excitement to revisit the Holy Land through speaking with these students. There will be more updates during the trip so make sure to visit our social media pages and subscribe to the Shiloh University blog here.