Most Israelis would never parallel the execution of Christ and the sufferings of the Jewish nation during the Holocaust. However, One artist named Rick Weineke who lives in a city in the Negev has done just that. He has created a sculpture 60 feet wide and 12 feet tall, called the Fountain of Tears. The sculpture shows how, through the course of suffering His own execution, Christ is able to identify and empathize with his Jewish brothers and sisters who suffered during the Holocaust.
The sculpture follows the seven last words of Christ that he spoke during his execution. It is made up of seven panels. Each panel has a carving of Christ hanging on the cross, carved into a 60 foot wall made of Jerusalem stone. Standing in front of each panel is a corresponding bronze sculpture of a Holocaust victim, whose head is shaved and who wears the characteristic striped prison garb. Each panel shows one of the stages of grieving that each went through on their path towards death.
The sculpture is in fact a study of the grieving process. On the third panel, Christ’s head is shaved and there is a number tattooed on his arm. The corresponding Holocaust victim is shown crying out “My, God, My God, Why have you forsaken me”. This was the historical cry of Jesus, right before he gave up his spirit. This was also the chant of those Jewish men who were made to clean out the ovens and gas chambers after each mass slaughtering. It is still the heart cry of many of the Holocaust survivors who cannot to this day account for how such an event could have possibly taken place.
The sculpture has been very controversial in the remote town that the artist lives in. He has suffered threats by those who oppose its message. It is not a popular message in Israel, yet dozens and dozens of Israeli Jews and Christians seek it out and testify that its message has impacted their lives.
Zippori is a town built around the time that Jesus was a boy. Because Nazareth is so close to this city, it is believed that Jesus and His father Joseph worked there as carpenters. This town is known today for it’s many mosaics that are still intact.
When we first arrived in Israel, Dr. Leventhal offered to baptize any of us, who were interested, in the Sea of Galilee. One of the people on our trip believed in Jesus Christ recently and had not been baptized. In this video, you see her being baptized as well as three others, including me. Although three of us had already been baptized in the past, we couldn’t turn down the opportunity to be baptized again in this Biblically rich site.
This was the highlight of the trip so far. This temple is where, in Matthew 16:13-20, Jesus asked Peter, “Who do you say that I am?” Knowing that we were standing in a place that we know Jesus stood and had this landmark dialogue with Peter was overwhelming.
These two stops ended our day. Korazim was an interesting place to visit because it was actually cursed by Jesus in Matthew 11:20-22. After leaving there, we went straight to the top of Mount Arbel where we had an incredible view of the country because of the height. The best part was that there were no guard rails so we could walk right up to the edge. Sorry Wendy!
Having been here in Israel for 4 days now, I want to confess that this is not anything like what I expected. As we have journeyed through the north side of the country, the sites and the feel are quite difficult to describe in words. One thing that I did not expect is the unique feeling of closeness with the Lord that I am experiencing as I walk where He walked.
This video captures some of the images we saw on our boat ride on the Sea of Galilee.
It was amazing to think that Jesus walked on this water.