because he lives

It’s so loud.

It’s too loud to hear God’s voice here.

That’s what I thought as I walked the Via Dolorosa in Jerusalem, trying so hard to concentrate on Jesus’ walk to the cross but finding that a nearly impossible quest in the face of incessant interruptions - people, voices, languages, vehicles - all screaming to be heard and bouncing off ancient stone everything, with nothing to cushion, nothing to quiet. All I wanted was a shred of peace to cling to and an inch of brainspace to care about what my Savior accomplished for me so many years ago.

I found it in a cistern.

We walked into a tiny, unassuming Coptic church a few steps off the beaten path, and stooped down into a tight and steep underground stairway. It opened up into a partly-full underground water cistern deep beneath the clamoring city, cut into the side of the hill we call Calvary. Its location, so near where Jesus died and was raised, makes it a likely sanctuary for the very first Christians who sought to worship together in some degree of safety from the loud, God-hating world.

The inside of the cistern

The inside of the cistern

There, our voices echoed off the water and the rock, enriching our a cappella versions of “The Old Rugged Cross” and “Because He Lives,” remembering the longstanding heritage of our faith - the great cloud of witnesses that has gone before us - and remembering that this call is a hard one. A death sentence, even. Sometimes physically, but always spiritually.

But because He lives, I can face tomorrow.

That’s what my Savior accomplished for me - a future and a hope. Life everlasting.

Because HE lives.


Hallie Liening

Hallie grew up on a small farm in rural eastern Washington. At 18, she moved across the country to go to Bible school, and then married the Boy Next Door at 20. Now 22, she is a graduate of Great Commission Bible Institute with a Certificate in Biblical Studies and resides in Olympia with her husband and her two cats. She survives the claustrophobia of living near the city by making frequent trips back home to visit her family and her horse, writing sentimental blog posts about the countryside, and by filling her house with photographs of Mt. Adams sunsets.