Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Bethlehem Village 2008

Standing alone at the well, fetching water, I began to interact with the children walking by. “Would you like to help me fetch water to take home?” Until then I didn’t know how much kids loved playing in the water. They couldn’t wait to get their hands on the ladles and fetch the water. Many stood in line to do this ancient chore and while they were busy I explained that in Bethlehem during the time of Jesus’ birth, there was no running water. The women in the village had to go to the well about four times each day to get water for drinking, cooking, cleaning and bathing. “And when they couldn’t go, what do you think they did?” I asked. Speechless, the children waited for the answer. “They sent their oldest son to do the job for them.”

I pondered the life changing experience of the Samaritan woman in Sychar who met Jesus at the well. The love of Jesus changed her and she went to tell the people in town about the Man who told her all she ever did. “Could He be the Expected One?” she asked. The people from town came to the well to meet their Savior. During quiet moments at the well, I thought to myself that my experience was very much the same as the woman in Sychar. When I met Jesus, He took away my sin and gave me a job to do too. That’s what I was doing at the well – teaching children.

I thought about the visitors to Bethlehem Village set up in the courtyard of Sunrise Community Church in Fair Oaks, California. What did they expect? They came and felt the intimidation of the Roman soldiers. They walked the crowded streets with scared animals. They visited busy shops and the Wise Men’s camp. They visited the shepherd’s camp and heard the angels sing. They saw sweet Mary, Joseph and Baby Jesus. Their hearts must have burned with the wonder of that first Christmas. It is the hope of everyone who worked re-enacting this historical event that our visitors felt the love of God in all we did.

If you have not visited Bethlehem Village in the courtyard of Sunrise Community Church in Fair Oaks, California, I hope you will plan to attend as a visitor or enactor in December in 2009. You will be blessed.


Elizabeth M Thompson said...

Sue, we loved Bethlehem Village! It was so realistic. What a blessing to bring the time of Jesus' birth to life for so many people. We will be making an annual pilgrimage to Bethlehem Village, now that the secret is out!

Elizabeth M Thompson said...

Did I tell you that my kids now refer to you as "the sweet one?" Every time I mention you they say, "Oh, you mean the sweet one!"

I am telling you, they are terrific judges of character!

Sue Tornai said...

Thank you, Beth, for your kind words. I love being with you and your family. Merry Christmas.