by mark walters
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Ignorance can be fixed, but stupidity is forever. Case and point: George and Gladys Adams have decided to visit the Holy Land this year for their vacation. George has become frustrated however. His shiny new digital camera has only 20 pictures on it after 2 days of tour bus riding. As an amateur photographer he is thirsting for a photo-op. He decides the way to go is rent a car on a self-guided tour, instead of just going with the rest of the herd on the church bus. In his own words: “There’s only so much you can see from one of those touristy coach seats. “We’ll get a bird’s eye view of God’s country on our own.”
“Yes dear, I suppose you might be right,” chirped in Mrs. Adams, raising her head briefly from perusing the Jerusalem Post.
“Hurry up Gladys. Our rental will be waiting at the front desk. I want to get started immediately.”
“Rush, rush, rush; you want to run everywhere at once, like a yo-yo on a short string.” George pretends not to hear his wife’s tirade and fiddles with the controls on his camera.
“George! Do you even know where we’re going?”
“Yes dear, but if you don’t get a move on, it’ll be after dark before we arrive. Masada and the Dead Sea are a ways from here.”
“Oh George, you remembered.” Gladys throws her arms around his neck and plants a big kiss on his cheek. “Thank you dear. Words can’t describe how much I wanted to go to the Dead Sea Spa. Their treatments are world renowned.”
With great expectation, they head leave the comfort of their room at the Eldan Hotel in Jerusalem and grab the waiting rental car.
But after a few hours of sightseeing, the Adams family is hopelessly lost somewhere in the desert between Jerusalem and Masada. The gas gauge is reading half full. The temperature outside is hovering at the 105 degree mark. Finally Gladys loses her cool with George and pops her cork.
“I think this idea of trying to find historic sites on our own instead of taking the bus like normal tourists was a stupid idea, George. We’re running out of gas and this car doesn’t even have a decent air conditioner. Why did you leave Road 90? Admit it, we’re lost.”
“Well Gladys, you never seem to like my ideas anyway, so how am I supposed to know whether they’re good or not.”
As the Adams family reaches the dead end of their third shortcut, Gladys, now able to sense impending doom, stops nagging and resorts to begging, “I think we are lost honey. Please pull over and ask that nice man in the hairy toga where we are.”
“Oh, you never believe me,” shoots back George. “I know just exactly where we are. This highway 886 reconnects with Road 90 in about 6 clicks.”
“I said pull over or I’ll click you! I can’t even read this map; you got the one written in Hebrew”
“Yes dear,” Now George is whimpering. The car comes to a stop in front of a man dressed like a shepherd.
George rolls his eyes and lowers the window to enquire, “Hey old timer. We’re Mr. and Mrs. Adams from the USA. Are you from around these parts? You look like some kind of shepherd.”
“Hello folks. My name is Elias. I am a shepherd of sorts, and yes, this is my country, all the way to the other side of Jordan River. My hometown is just over the horizon to the west, a little place the locals call Ayelet HaShahar, but it was called Tishbe in my time.”
George impatiently interrupts him. “OK there, Eli. Listen man, we’re looking for something called the bridge to Dominion."
"A strange looking man in a shiny white tunic told us the bridge was around here somewhere. He said you could see to eternity from the vantage point at the top. How far along is the bridge from here?”
“I’m sorry to disappoint you folks. You can’t get there from here. The bridge to Dominion is closed to you.”
“George,” said Gladys, “his English isn’t too good. I don’t think he understood the question. You know. Hebrew is so different from our language. I just don’t think he understands us. Ask him again.”
“No Gladys. I think sometimes these peasants are just a little off plumb. They just don’t think like we do.”
“Well, aright then dear. Excuse me Mr. Eli, sir. Just where did you say that bridge went to?”
“The bridge to Dominion opened to the Gentiles has closed. Dominion is now granted only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. The fountain of salvation is open once again to the house of Jacob. I was summoned to help lead them home.”
“George,” chided Gladys. “It’s time to get out of here. Step on the gas and lose this kook.”
“Wait honey, I think I know what he’s referring to. We studied this in Bible Class last Sunday.”
Turning to the stranger, George took on a tone of curiosity. “Say, I’ll bet this is some kind of game you people cook up to mess with tourists. You’re the second Spiritual person we’ve run into this week, talking about this bridge thing. We talked to a guy yesterday, said his name was Jeshu, or Bless you or something.
“Are you referring to Yeshua,” asked the shepherd?”
“Yeah, that’s the guy. Are you two related? I’ll bet everyone around here is, if you know what I mean.”
The Shepherd nods quizzically, at least somewhat befuddled. “Of course, I know Him. He is the firstborn of many brothers.”
George continued on, “He had wounds in His hands. Said he was a carpenter, but is now a shepherd. I could see why he quit carpentry. I’ve never seen such hideous wounds. His hands were all bloody. It looked like he missed the mark at least twice with his hammer. He just went on and on about a bridge around here somewhere called “Dominion”. He said it led to a place of suffering, but our whole trip would be pointless without experiencing “It.”
“After talking to him I was really confused, but now I’m wise to your little game. Well, it won’t work on me buddy. I know which Bible character you represent. You’re playing the role of Elijah the Prophet, aren’t you, and he was supposed to be Jesus?”
“This really isn’t a game sir. I am Elijah the Prophet and the days of the Gentiles are past. You have missed Messiah. He has sent me forth now only to the lost tribe of Israel.”
“Oh, is that so? Well, Mr. big shot. This just chaps my hide. I’ve been driving around in this ready-bake oven for about four hours with a nagging wife tugging at my right arm and I’m about a second from a total-meltdown.”
"George, honey. We really need to get out of here." Gladys was whispering but her grasp was so hard, she drew blood from his forearm with her nails.
"Ow, what are you doing DEAR? Let go of my arm."
Now in pain and tired of charades, George turns his head to Elijah and cockily replies, “If you really are the Elijah who was to come, show me a sign. I know that Bible prophets are supposed to be able to do that. Go ahead there, baldy. Do your best. I’ve been wandering around in this wasteland all morning and I’m about ready for a diversion anyway.”
Elijah looked bewildered at the tourist’s request and turned his face toward heaven. “Very well sir, I will.” With those words he spoke in earnest. “If I am a real man of God, let fire fall from heaven and consume you and your car.”
Without the slightest hesitation, a fireball the size of Plymouth Rock falls directly on the car, immolating George and Gladys in far less than a moment’s time.
Now in heaven before God, Gladys turns to George and says: “George. Look what you’ve gotten us into now. What’s going to become of us?”
George, unaware of the reality of his whereabouts looks at Gladys and says, “Oh look, dear. There’s more of this drama unfolding right before us. This place looks so real. I’ll bet the guy on the big white throne is supposed to be Jesus. Don’t be fooled though. He doesn’t look at all like the picture in my wallet.”
This time a voice from the throne blasts, “Shut up George!”
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