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.
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.