The Encounter

Matthew 9:20 – And a woman who had been suffering from a hemorrhage for twelve years, came up behind Him and touched the fringe of His cloak. (NASB)

Reflecting on my trip to Israel last November, I recall that one of my favourite sites was the ancient village of Magdala in Galilee. A most recent and fascinating archaeological discovery was a first-century synagogue with part of its beautiful fresco wall and mosaic floor still visible today. In the centre of the synagogue is a rare artifact known as the Magdala stone. This square object is beautifully carved with temple images on all sides. Some believe that it was used as a table to hold the Torah scroll where Jesus may have read Scripture and preached the Word of God.

Standing beside these ruins, I was struck by the reality that many people who worshipped there had a personal encounter with the Messiah. Perhaps this was the place, in the hometown of Mary Magdala, where she met her Saviour for the first time. It is also conceivable that the event described in today's Scripture occurred in the same locale.

Afterward, we visited the Duc In Altum worship centre not far from the excavation site. The Latin phrase means "launch into the deep" (Luke 5:4). Inside the atrium are seven pillars honouring women of the Bible as well as an eighth column for all women of faith. In addition, a separate room houses a model boat commemorating Jesus' disciples. But especially meaningful to me was the Encounter Chapel on the lower level of the building. Its floor is part of the original marketplace. Yet the most striking feature was a large mural painted above the altar called Encounter, depicting the woman who touched the Lord's cloak; only her hand is shown, with a small light signifying that a miracle had taken place.

This experience was reminiscent of a devotional that I had written in January 2011 entitled The Hem of His Garment. Unbeknownst to me at the time, my husband would be diagnosed with cancer by the end of the same year. Subsequently, the faith and courage of this anonymous woman have been an inspiration and a great source of hope.

Truly, Magdala is a place of encounter. The town generates a message of faith, hope, and healing. It has been said, "The chapel and the painting are celebrating Jesus' encounter of all of us; how we touch Jesus and how He touches or moves us."

Prayer: Lord, we thank You for Your Word that is living and active in the world today, and for all those who encountered Your life and ministry firsthand. Miraculously, their testimonies live on throughout the ages as they continue to inspire, strengthen, and encourage our faith. May we likewise be witnesses to future generations of Your amazing power and the wonders of Your grace. In Jesus' mighty name, we pray. Amen.

1 comment on this post.
  1. PresbyCan Feedback:

    Wonderful words, Lori.


    Thanks, Lori, for the devotional today. That trip obviously impacted you in many ways.


    Thanks, Lori. I also visited Magdala but didn’t see the chapel you described. Something for next time!


    Thanks for a good word Lori, it was great to see a submission from you.
    Blessings.


    Thank you for this reminder of miracles and addition to my bucket list of places to visit!


    I have forwarded your writing to two friends who also visited Israel.
    Thanks for this devotional.


    Hi Lori,
    Going to Israel is on my bucket list, and your wonderful description of Magdala has motivated me even more so! Thank you for sharing this message of encounter with us!
    Blessings.


    Good morning Lori,
    Read both your devotionals this morning, good ones. They spoke to my heart today. Thank you for writing.
    Blessings.


    Oh Lori. Hugs to you! We visited Israel in March 2018. My husband unexpectedly passed later that year. May you experience His peace overwhelming pressed down and shaken together. May life surround you in wonder and in care.


    Hi Lori – thank you for your message today. It helped me feel more hopeful! I am not feeling well and kind of depressed and your words lifted my spirits and also the sun shone through my window. Lately, the November days have been starting out dark and dreary and I really miss the sun. It is also getting colder. I hope you and your husband are keeping well. Blessings.


    As always, so beautifully written Lori. God bless you.


    Dear Lori,
    Thank you for your message. I appreciated it — right to the end of the prayer.
    I pray that you will continue to write.