Ok, my friends, there is lots more to experience at the museums and in Bethlehem. We’ll explore those in more detail today. But we also got a special surprise on our way back to the hotel. We made an unscheduled pass by the US Embassy.
Nighttime is actually the best time to do a drive-by because there is typically lots of traffic around the area, and security does not allow vehicles to stop in front of the embassy. When we approached, there was no traffic and no sign of overwhelming security, so our bus inched along slowly, allowing us a good, long look at the US Embassy! Because of security walls, we could not see much of the actual building, but Old Glory flew big and bold over the compound! It made us grateful to be Americans, knowing the US had finally done what should have been done decades ago: move the embassy to Jerusalem! It was a proud moment…and we thanked our bus driver profusely for this unscheduled treasure.
BTW, a quick bit about our bus driver: As many bus drivers are, he was Arab. On day 1, he wasn’t crazy about the fact he was about to spend the next two weeks driving a Jewish tour guide and an excited evangelical group of Christians around Israel. He was somewhat resistant to our guide’s requests to go a different route or make an extra stop to do or see something special.
But our group poured out love upon him! By day 3 he began to loosen up a bit, and began to smile at us as we engaged with him. We consistently showed our appreciation, buying him lunches and thanking him many times for his willingness to alter course. By the time we arrived in Jerusalem, I think he actually enjoyed us.
The drive by the US Embassy was not on the agenda, though I had asked our guide if we could go by there sometime while we were in Jerusalem. But on this particular day, the driver was already past his scheduled drive time for the day and he should have been off. However, it was HIS idea that evening to drive by the embassy! Oh how his demeanor toward us had changed!
The last day of our tour was his birthday and we all pitched in to give him a nice birthday gift, and several of us expressed how much we truly appreciated him safely and skillfully navigating Jerusalem traffic and making it possible for us to see and do unscheduled things. We heaped on the appreciation, knowing his job was keeping him away from his family. As he received our gift and words of appreciation, he had tears in his eyes and he told us he wanted to be our bus driver again if we returned!
It is amazing what happens when the love of Jesus is shared!
You now have the insight, so enjoy this segment!
PS: Having been in Washington DC for a special event, linked by satellite to the embassy in Jerusalem on the day it was dedicated, I was especially excited to see the US Embassy in Jerusalem! I had been privileged to watch much of the ceremony live via that link, and could identify specifically where the events of that day had taken place. What a fantastic memory!