Jerusalem of Light
“Come, all you who are thirsty,
come to the waters;
and you who have no money,
come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
without money and without cost.” —Isaiah 55: 1
On Sunday, June 2, Israel celebrated Yom Yerushalayim, Jerusalem Day, which commemorates the reunification of the city, ending 19 years of separation between East Jerusalem (controlled by Jordan) and West Jerusalem (controlled by Israel) after the War of Independence in 1948. This is one of six devotions looking at the spiritual and historical significance of God’s Holy City. To learn more, download our complimentary Bible study.
Summer is a wonderful time to be in Israel. Jerusalem, in particular, is bursting with special activities, one of which is the Jerusalem Festival of Light. For one week, artists from around the world collaborated to turn the ancient, walled part of Jerusalem into one luminescent piece of art. Hidden behind corners and around the many twists and bends of the small cobblestone streets awaited works of art made with light. Beautiful!
Even more beautiful are the crowds of people pouring through Jerusalem’s gates who come to take in this light spectacular. People from all walks of life can be seen, and languages from around the world are heard shuffling together through the crowded city streets. They are excited, joyful, and inspired. Appropriately, one exhibit featured this verse from Psalms 122, “Our feet are standingin your gates, Jerusalem” (v.2.) The verse before it reads,“I rejoiced with those who said to me, ‘Let us go to the house of the LORD’” (v.1).
I could have easily pretended that we were living in the times of the Messiah. If I didn’t know better, I would be sure that I was watching a fulfillment of the prophecies mentioned in the Bible – when Jerusalem will be rebuilt and people all over the world will come there to experience the light of holiness in Jerusalem and God’s Holy Temple. At that moment, messianic times felt so close.
These verses from Isaiah talk about the Jerusalem of the future, the messianic Jerusalem.
The prophet described how the city will be rebuilt from precious stones and how all war and terror against her will cease. Then the prophet issued the following invitation: “Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters, and you who have no money, come, buy and eat!” The Jewish sages explain that this references the nations of the world who will be invited to Jerusalem to benefit from the holiness and teachings they will receive there. This soul-food will nourish them.
As spectacular as the Jerusalem Light Festival is, even more spectacular is when people seek out the light of God. That shift is happening now before our very eyes. Every time we seek out the Word of God, more precious than the shiniest diamonds, we will be a part of the change that ultimately, will one day change the world.
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