Kindness of Strangers

When I travel, I am never surprised by the kindness of people…people of all lands and of all religions.  

As God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. — Colossians 3:12 

One day in Israel, we had just finished our walking day and we were needing a taxi to get to our Hostel. I have learned when travelling in Israel that it is important to be ready for a religious holiday which could and probably will be a reason to change your plans.  These surprises will keep you on your toes.  

On one particular day, we were to walk to the Horns of Hattin and down to Nebi Shu’eib and call a taxi, a plan I had made on my previous trip.  But due to changing our traveling dates, and now unknown to me, this day was the holiest of days here at the shrine. 

Nebi Shu’eib is a huge mosque-like Shrine nestled at the base of the Horns of Hattin. The building houses the traditional tomb of Jethro, father-in-law of Moses, (Exodus 3:1) a prophet in the Druze tradition. The Druze religion believes that Jethro passed on rules about justice and righteousness to Moses.  He is considered the ancestor of all the Druze people and his tomb located at the foot of the Horns of Hattin is considered the most important pilgrimage site for the Druze. In Druze tradition, it is believed that towards the end of his life, he took refuge in a cave on the slopes of the “south Horn” where he would die in old age. His followers buried him at the site and placed a tombstone at his grave. The building standing here today is modern and serves also a pilgrims hostel mainly during the annual holiday held on 25-28/April.

As we entered the grounds, we realized something special was happening. Today was a the annual holiday and, therefore, we were unable to enter the shrine. The next closest phone was five miles away. Five miles of walking in the afternoon sun. Five miles we didn’t want to walk. So, we headed down the road, in hopes of finding help. At the bottom of the hill, we saw three young men who were working the gate at the parking entrance. As we approached them, they asked how our walk was going. We said good, but needed to call a taxi. They proceeded to tell us who to call.  Wonderful, right? And then we discovered that our phones weren’t working.  So, there we sat on the curb, trying to decide what to do.  Maybe we would be walking five miles.  Not long after that thought, one of the young men came over to me and handed me his phone. He had called a taxi. We breathed a sigh of relief and made arrangements for a pick up. Then they kindly invited us to sit under their tent. As we were resting, they asked if we were hungry or thirsty.  

“For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me” ~ Matthew 25:35 

We tried to say no, but they insisted and gave us the most delicious snack. I wish I could remember the name. They also offered us water. These small acts of kindness meant so much. Here we were tired, hungry and needing help and these three young men gave us assistance, fed us and offered us shade from the heat. 

I believe we learn so much when we travel. In our normal life, we have everything under control. We work, we shop, we cook and we eat. We have a roof over our head and have so much to be thankful for. When we travel to these distance lands, we step out of our comfort zone. We let go of our securities and trust. We hope we don’t ever need assistance or help, but it never fails that when we are in need, God sends a helping hand.    

People are kind and in this crazy world, it’s easy to forget that goodness is still alive and well. 

“So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” ~ Matthew 7:12 

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