They coexist. Realizing this miracle shocked me during our trip to the Holy Land. Muslim, Jew, Christian and non-believer – they coexist. It prompted me to question whether this
existence really works or are we sitting on a time bomb?
We visited Bethlehem which is now under the control of the Palestinians. We visited a Christian shopkeeper in Bethlehem who supports his family by selling his wares. He welcomed us wholeheartedly and then asked us to pray for his country saying, "Please pray for Israel. Please remember that war hurts everyone."
I don't know about you but I consider the word of a Christian Palestinian living behind erected walls in a place called the "Holy Land" to be the trusted voice of experience. War hurts everyone. The walls are ugly. They are concrete and cold. They are gray in color and there are spray-painted messages written across them as if to serve as the angry voices of those shut out.
As Americans, we seem to favor war anytime the words, “Middle East,” or “Muslim” are uttered. We have one Presidential candidate ready to refuse entry to anymore of "them." Yet, here in God's country, in Israel, in the place where Adam and Eve started it all and Jesus will return again - they coexist.
The Wailing Wall, a place some believe holds the very presence of God, is pushed up against a mosque. Yet, every day and all day long people from all nations go to the Wailing Wall to leave their little slips of paper listing their many prayer requests. Men and women are separated in prayer areas but you can hear the sounds of the women’s sobs as they cry out to God.
In the market area (pictured), the Jews live in second story apartments while the Muslims occupy the lower story and keep their shops open. They function together. It’s working. Who knows how long it will work? At least they are trying.
I think our guide voiced it best when in frustration he shared that most of us know nothing about what is really going on in the Holy Land. We just like to pretend we do.
They coexist. We had the blessing and the privilege to walk among them witnessing their choice to coexist. We learned from them. We listened and observed. If anyone has anything to teach the rest of us, I believe it's them. All of them.