Apples of Gold Jul/Aug 2015
Recently I found work in a Jerusalem hospital as a handy-man. The day after I started working, something happened that was a clear sign of the Lord’s guidance.
When I walked into one of the wards to repair a window, I saw a Polish Jewish man about 50 years old who had been in Israel for 35 years. He was in critical condition, and I felt led to witness to him so that he might receive Christ before he died.
The man told me the tragic story of how his family had been killed during the Arab pogrom in 1930 in Hebron.
“When my family perished,” he said, “I was left alone, a teenage boy. I soon got into bad company with a gang of Arabs who smuggled morphine across the border. It was risky work, but they paid me well. In a short time I became a victim of my own sordid trade. I became addicted to the dope I was smuggling and would do anything to get it. My companions took advantage of my condition and sent me on the most dangerous assignments, mostly to Egypt and Lebanon. One day the British police caught me, and I was put in prison for a year, desperately sick and craving morphine.
“After my release from prison, I had nowhere to go. So I returned to my old gang in Jaﬀa. The drug dealers received me gladly and assigned me a new job. They bought camels from Bedouins and instructed me to drive the animals across the border into Egypt. At ﬁrst, I could not understand why they were doing this, but I soon learned the reason. They were inserting in each camel’s stomach 15 bottles of morphine worth about $4,500. The cost of a camel was only about $25 to $30. When I took the camels to Egypt, their Egyptian partner would pay the high price of the morphine and kill the poor animals right away, leaving their ﬂesh to rot.
“Now I had enough money to indulge in my vice. But I was caught again and handed over to a British court in Jerusalem. The judge was Jewish. I confessed everything and told him about my partners in crime. He sentenced me to three years in prison. Altogether, I have spent 19 years of my life in prison.
“And now,” he said, ﬁnishing his tragic tale, “I am on my deathbed, and no one cares to speak even a word to me to relieve my anxious soul. You are the ﬁrst person who was kind enough to listen to me.”
Then I told him that I believe in the living God, the Judge of the living and the dead, and that because He loves us, He sent His only Son to save sinners like us. I told him I, too, am a sinner. We all are sinners, but we can be forgiven and have eternal life if we place our faith in Jesus, who took our punishment.
I read to him the Gospel of Luke, the account of Zacchaeus, and about the Son of Man who came to seek and to save those who are lost.
I also read to him many passages of Scripture, along with Jesus’ promise that because He lives, we will also live (Jn. 14:19). I told him, “It is obvious that your time is short, and you cannot aﬀord to waste any of it.”
All of a sudden he began crying and said, “I am unworthy of anyone telling me about God and His salvation.”
I told him, “Christ died for sinners, that they may have eternal life. It is up to you to receive the Lord Jesus as your Savior so that you may have that eternal life. This may be your last opportunity.”
The man then said, “Please pray for me,” which I did. Then he looked up at me and said, “Now I am ready to receive the Lord.”
He was extremely weak, but I was sure he truly believed. I asked, “Do you believe that Jesus is your Savior?”
In a soft voice, he answered, “Yes, and I am ready to be with the Lord Jesus. I am no longer afraid because I will go home to Him.” When I said goodbye, his last words to me were, “You saved my life.”
The next morning when I returned, I was told that during the night, my friend had gone to his eternal home.
—The Friends of Israel Archives, 1986