Walk About Zion
Walk about Zion, and go all around her. Count her towers; mark well her bulwarks; consider her palaces; that you may tell it to the generation following. For this is God, our God forever and ever; He will be our guide even to death.” (Psalm 48:12-14)
Recently it was my privilege to conduct an Israel tour for twelve teen-aged Jewish Christians from various parts of the United States. I asked many friends of our ministry to pray that these young people would have a powerful time of spiritual development. I think their prayers were answered. The trip (we called it Project Caleb) turned out to to be a fantastic opportunity.
On our very first day, I took the group to the wilderness of Judea. It was quite warm, and rain clouds in Jerusalem had as yet produced little runoff into the wilderness. This gave me an occasion to talk about the tremendous importance of water in a dry and desolate place and to present a spiritual application: water in the Middle-East, both now and in the ancient world, is and was a tremendously important commodity. Often the metaphor of water is used in Scripture to underscore a point.
The psalmist wrote, “As the deer pants for the water brooks, so pants my soul for You, O God” (Psalm 42:1). The prophets understood the illustration of water as an emblem of our spiritual thirst. That desire, they said, could only be fulfilled in the Lord.
Jeremiah chapter 2 describes God as the fountain of living water. In Isaiah 55 the prophet was moved of the Lord to call the nation of Israel to drink of Him if they were “thirsty.” And John 4:10, 14 records Jesus telling the Samaritan woman that He offered her “living water” that should become “a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.”
Our 11-day tour concluded high up on Mt. Hermon. There, at the northernmost point of our journey, we read together Matthew 17:1-9. The young people could almost see Jesus on the mountainside, talking with Moses and Elijah. They pondered the words of our heavenly Father, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” They could almost hear Jesus’ voice as He told His disciples that He would go from the high mountain all the way down to Jerusalem to face the cross.
It was late afternoon, and sunlight was breaking through the haze over the Galilee region. I reminded the kids that our people were once promised a ray of hope in this ancient land. Isaiah prophesied: “Nevertheless the gloom will not be upon her who is distressed as when at first He lightly esteemed the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, and afterward more heavily oppressed her, by the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, in Galilee of the Gentiles. The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death, upon them a light has shined” (9:1, 2). According to John 1, that light is Yeshua the Messiah. He is the one who came out of Galilee and like the rays of the dawn shined forth hope upon our Jewish people.
The young people prayed there on Mt. Hermon. They asked the Lord to meet them in their individual lives in His own very personal way.
These teens and other young Jewish believers like them need to be upheld with much prayer. They fight many spiritual battles in their daily lives. In their junior highs and high schools they face tremendous opposition to their faith in Christ and generally must endure the status of outcast. Even those who attend Christian schools must struggle personally to affirm their own unique Jewish Christian identities.
Please pray for this new generation of Jewish believers in Yeshua. Pray that with God’s help they may step forward bravely to proclaim the One who brought living water to a spiritually thirsty people. Pray that God will give them the courage to let the light of Messiah so shine in their lives that others may be drawn to the light of life.
Tuvya Zaretsky is one of the founders of the Jews for Jesus ministry. He was the first field missionary beginning his service in February 1974. Tuvya continues to serve the Lord, now as the Director of Staff Development internationally, based out of the Los Angeles office. He also chairs the Board for the Jews for Jesus branch in Tel Aviv, Israel. Tuvya was raised in Northern California in the institutions of American Judaism. During his bar mitzvah at age thirteen, Tuvya read from Isaiah 6:1-8 and declared with the prophet, Hineni-Here I am, send me!" However, his search for God and spiritual truth didn't come into focus until ten years later, when a Christian colleague encouraged him to seek God in the pursuit of truth. Tuvya came to believe in Y'shua (Jesus) on December 7, 1970. Ever since, he has been joyfully saying to God, "Hineni-Here am I." The full story is available by that title, in a booklet form here. Tuvya has provided the leadership of Jews for Jesus branches and evangelistic campaigns in major cities of the US and in Israel. He headed up the Las Vegas Behold Your God (BYG) campaign in 2005 and co-led the 2006 BYG outreach in New Jersey. He is now also an administrator for the website www.JewishGentileCouples.com. In April, 1989, Zaretsky was present at the Willowbank Consultation on the Christian Gospel and the Jewish people, that produced the watershed Willowbank Declaration. Tuvya has presented missiology papers at the Evangelical Theological Society, the Lausanne Consultation on Jewish Evangelism (LCJE) and at the Global Diaspora Missiology Consultation in 2006. He currently serves as president for the International Coordinating Committee of the Lausanne Consultation on Jewish Evangelism, a networking body of Jewish mission agencies. He was editor of the Lausanne Occasional Paper 60, Jewish Evangelism" A Call to the Church in 2004. He was a contributing author of Israel the Land and People edited by H. Wayne House (Kregel Publishers, 1998). His doctoral dissertation, co-authored with Dr. Enoch Wan, was published as Jewish-Gentile Couples: Trends, Challenges and Hopes (William Carey Library Publishers, 2004). He authored or edited articles for the June 2006 issue of MISHKAN themed, "The Gospel and Jewish-Gentile Couples" (Jerusalem) . And in 2008 he was coordinator and contributor for the World Evangelical Alliance Consultation that produced "The Berlin Declaration on the Uniqueness of Christ and Jewish Evangelism in Europe Today". In 2013 Zaretsky was appointed to serve as the Senior Associate for Jewish Evangelism by the International Lausanne Movement. Tuvya has an M.A. in Missiology concentrating in Judaic Studies from Fuller Seminary's School of Intercultural Studies and the Doctor of Missiology degree from the Division of Intercultural Studies at Western Seminary in Portland, Oregon. He is married to Ellen, who is also a Jewish Believer in Jesus. They have three young adult children: Jesse, Abbie and Kaile.