Egypt, its root word in Hebrew is narrow mind or narrow place.
We were warned. If you struggle with claustrophobia or aren’t in shape think twice about going through the tunnels. I knew physically I could do it. I don’t have claustrophobia but I still didn’t like the idea of going through the tunnels of Jerusalem but I didn’t want to regret not going either. What’s the saying? When in Rome do as the Romans do.
The tunnels started out fairly wide and tall and I was able to walk through just fine. Ok, not so bad. I continued forward, it was damp, musty, the floor was uneven and it was hot and humid. It had its narrow parts but it wasn’t so bad. Yes, I am glad I decided not to sit this one out.
As we moved forward it got narrow and low and we began to bend as our shoulders almost touched the walls on both ends. Still not what I thought we moved through fairly quickly. It wasn’t that bad at all.
Then it got narrow and low ceilings where we were bending and walking, water dripping from the ceiling, and I began to think ok, this is hard but not impossible, surely we’re almost through.
Not so. It went on and on uphill, downhill, gaps in the floor, lower and lower we bent and more narrow. Some tripped, :I wished I had worn something other than sandals. We moved together shouting warnings to one another, “big dip on the floor”, “slippery rocks”, “narrow passage”, “watch your head” “watch the steps”. Team work felt safe as we moved through. A sign read 200 meters. We didn’t know if that meant we’d gone 200 meters, or there was 200 meters left to go. How much is 200 meters anyway? We’re Americans, 200 meters means nothing.
Then we saw light up some rocky steps. Yes! There is light at the end of the tunnel only it turned out to be a reflection and the tunnels continued. Ok, I wasn’t having fun anymore. I was sweating, I was done, I got the point, the pilgrims suffered to reach the temple. It was hard. Voices got quiet, grumbling began, and still we walked. There were no emergency exits. We were in this to the end whether we liked it or not. We didn’t know where we were and we didn’t know how much longer we would be trapped in these tunnels. The worship leaders began to sing. We joined in but my mind was trying to be on the lookout. I have to admit though the singing began to soothe me and I began to relax a little. I was going to have to bend and walk in places, I was going to slip on some rocks in my sandals so I had to watch where I stepped. I looked ahead of me and still saw no end in sight and I turned back and saw the line of people behind me and realized there was no time to stop or reorient, I had to put one foot in front of the other.
It was then that the Lord spoke to me. “Do you remember what Beni said? It is said that you cannot serve the God of Abraham,Isaac, and Jacob with an Egyptian mindset, or to put it another way, the narrow mindedness must be put out of you. Today we walk through a narrow passage because a time is coming when your American theology will not serve you. The wide expanse of the door of your upbringing will become a narrow gate. Many will fall away but you will embed this walk in your heart and you will know when to bow low and how live in the passage from one realm to another. Do not be afraid. Use your faith to overcome.”
We finally reached the end and went up the stairs in the hot late morning sun. Panting, hot and grateful we were out of the tunnel. What? We have one more tunnel about 10% of the length of the last one yet to go? Oh man! Okay, let’s go. I’m skeptical but I’m ready for what comes my way.
The Bible talks a lot of narrow paths. Are you ready? Have you been on what seems like a narrow path? Take heart. You will come out of it.