PROVIDENCE IN NAZARETH

The Scripture reading of Mary’s Song as recorded in Luke 1:46–55 that accompanies the sermon this week comes with a great God story. The audio and video crew was with me in Nazareth at the only known well in town, the place where, it is believed, Jesus and Mary often would have drawn water. Today, a large Christian church has been built over the site, but the well remains open for viewing in a cavernous area of the church. My plan was to film the Scripture reading from this week at that location. But, as we were shooting, we were disrupted by some podcasters visiting from other nations. The brief minutes that interaction took cost us the few precious minutes we had to film, as the body of a deceased elderly woman in an open casket was carried in front of us for a funeral. Out of respect we quickly exited as the mourners entered. Then, down the hill a bit from the church, we found a well called Mary’s Well. It was an outdoor fountain that had apparently been used to pipe water from the well Mary used to the locals in a more public and accessible location. I got the idea to find a local young woman who would be willing to stand in front of Mary’s Well and read Luke 1:46–55 for us in Hebrew. So, we needed a bilingual young woman old enough not to need her parents’ permission to film with us and a copy of the New Testament in Hebrew, all while standing in the Muslim quarters of Nazareth. To make matters worse, the streets were empty, as everyone had gone to the mosque for Ramadan prayers. We could not find a young woman or a copy of a Hebrew Bible. So, Jesse (our director) and I walked into a nearby coffee shop and sat down. We bowed our heads and asked Jesus to send us what we needed, quickly listing the specific needs. Just then, in God’s providence, a young woman approached us to take our order. Christine just so happened to be eighteen, was born in Nazareth and had lived there all her life like Mary, was from a Christian family, was a sister in Christ, and was fluent in Arabic, Hebrew, and English. Furthermore, she had just acted in her first play and looked fully Mars Hill, dressed in black and wearing Vans. We asked her if she would be willing to read for us and she was nervous but agreed. Her boss agreed to let her take a bit of time off work for the project and we gave her a really, really good tip to say thanks. While we finished our coffee, John (our I-can-do-anything handyman, including rewiring the power on our bus in Israel to recharge the RED cameras) somehow accessed a local wireless network with his iPhone and found a copy of the New Testament in Hebrew. The next thing you know, we got the Scripture reading for this week. So, thank you, Christine!

This post is republished material from Mars Hill Church for teaching and archive purposes only.

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