Zvi Nov/Dec 2004
Here in Israel, one of the best places to meet people is at the clinic. They all sit around, waiting their turns to see the doctor; and they have plenty of time to listen and talk. And when you begin to speak to one person, many others join in.
As it is written in Psalm 96:2–3, “Sing unto the Lᴏʀᴅ, bless his name; show forth his salvation from day to day. Declare his glory among the nations, his wonders among all peoples.” I try to do these things often, but many times the people I speak to are not so nice when they speak to me. Frequently they are hostile and angry.
As I sat in the clinic waiting my turn to see the doctor, I began to speak to those around me. After half an hour, we began to talk about the Bible. In Israel you cannot come with a big voice and preach about Jesus Christ. No, here you must have much patience.
So I was patient. But I also waited for the big attack against me, which I surely believed would come from the Orthodox people who also use this clinic. As I explained about faith by quoting a few verses from the New Testament, several Orthodox men who had been listening from the other side of the room began shouting, “Be careful! He wants to poison you! He is quoting from a book where it is written only about ‘This Man,’ Jesus!”
So a commotion began over what I said. From that point on, we no longer had a civil conversation about faith, but a hot discussion. The Orthodox men became so loud and hostile that the nurses went over to them and told them, “You shall be quiet in here! You are in a clinic. You are not in the market!”
They agreed to speak quietly. “Okay,” one said to me. “We will be more quiet. Where is it written in your Christian book about the Bible and our fathers, like Abraham? Can you show us?”
I was overjoyed. Often I must use only the Old Testament when I speak to people, or I must speak with them for many hours before I can show them anything in the New Testament. But this time these people who were so against me gave me the opportunity to do what is usually impossible: to use the New Testament right away. Because I bring the complete Bible with me everywhere I go, it was easy for me to show them immediately.
“Do you want me to read about our fathers in the New Testament, or do you want to read it for yourselves?” I asked.
“You have the book with you?” one asked.
“Yes,” I said. “I have it.”
“We want to read it ourselves because we want to protect people from your poison,” one said.
So I opened my Bible to Hebrews 11:1–39 and gave it to them to read. One of them read aloud this great chapter on faith, and everyone in the clinic listened as an Orthodox man read to them from the New Testament.
Then one of the others asked the Orthodox man, “How do you feel now, after you have read from this Christian book? Are you still alive after you read this ‘poison’?” And they began commenting to each other that everything the Orthodox man read from Hebrews 11 was the same as in the Hebrew Scriptures.
This time I asked, “What is the best way to know the Lord? By reading a big stack of rabbinical commentaries and traditions, or by what you have just heard read?”
“By what we have just heard,” they all agreed. “It was the same as what is written in our Bible,” one commented.
The Orthodox men there, however, were not pleased. And one said with much hostility, “Do not worry. We will find you!”
“You do not have to look for me,” I replied. “I am at your disposal. I will even come to your home. Here is my telephone number. You can contact me anytime you wish. Is it forbidden in Israel to teach people the truth, but not forbidden to teach them fictitious stories that can do them no good?”
“But you want to make them Christians,” one said.
“Our duty,” I replied, “as His Chosen People is to bring His salvation to all people. Not to bring superstitions. You have many fears because you do not know the truth.”
So many people had become interested in this discussion that they even forgot they were waiting to see the doctor. I learned that the clinic is among the best places to go to talk about the Lord. Now I pray that the Lord will heal not only their bodies but their souls as well.