The Jesus Guy in the Holy Sepulcher Church in Jerusalem
I just got back from a Holyland trip and even if it was my Nth time there, every experience is unique, especially this latest one. I have met what they call “The Jesus Guy” and I am so lucky because he is very difficult to spot, not just the timing, but also in the hundreds and thousands of people in the Old City of Jerusalem.
It was crowded in the Holy Sepulcher Church and I had 2 disabled clients. Me and my guide was able to convince one of the kind, young Orthodox priests guarding the tomb of Jesus to let our 2 clients go ahead of queue instead of waiting in line for an hour and a half with the rest of the group. Once we were successful, we stepped aside and stood there waiting, when the guide noticed this guy who was walking barefoot (YES, as in no sandals nor sheets and his feet is touching the cold floor of the church), wearing a cloak, carrying a bible and sporting a long hair and beard. Bassam, our guide said “I know this guy”, so he approached him and said hi. Bassam asked me, “do you know this guy?” and I said: “Jesus, our savior?”. They both laughed and the guy said to me:
and so our little chat with him began.
Wow! Really? How long have you been doing this?
TJG (The Jesus Guy): For over 23 years now. I have been doing so, not to cause commotion or preach in the streets but to live the gospel and spread the good news to those whom I encounter.
Bassam: What does your family think about this?
TJG: My father was against it, my brothers and sisters are against it (shrugs), I can’t blame them but I got to do what I got to do.
Bassam: You used to live in the US right? How are things going here like visa, where you sleep, food?
TJG: I go back there once in a while, right now I’m working on extending my visa in Israel. I sleep here (in the Holy Sepulcher Church), sometimes in the street or sometimes in someone else’s home. Here in the Holy Sepulcher Church, the priests let me stay because they know I don’t cause any problems or commotions. I only have my cloak and my bible and that’s it (smiles). The lord provides and he have never failed me. (Looking at me) how about you? Where are you from?
From the Philippines. I’m just here to assist a group make their trip in the holyland as conveniently and as spiritually fulfilling as possible.
TJG: wow, that’s great! So we are in the same ministry, spreading the gospel and about Jesus without the extravagance of media and causing commotion. Do you have a strong devotion in the Divine Mercy in the Philippines?
Yes, we have basilicas and churches devoted to the Divine Mercy almost all over the Philippines.
TJG: and do you all say the 3 o’clock prayer?
Yes, we do, we have a local tv station airing the 3 o’clock prayer (I remembered RPN 9, but i know it is under new management now), and radio stations broadcasting the prayer.
TJG: That’s great! I love that devotion, it is great that Philippines is praying it.
Yes, there are groups from those churches as well that go on pilgrimage tours to the Holy Land.
TJG: That’s really great! I hope to see more from other countries and give their devotion.
(After a few more chat and half a dozen photos, Bassam shook his hand and handed a couple of dollar and shekkel bills)
TJG: I can’t take this, I don’t need it.
Bassam: Please…you will need it, for food, or something…enjoy a nice meal from us.
TJG: I can get those for free, I am just going to give this to the poor.
Yes, please give it to someone you think really deserve it. We would really appreciate that.
TJG: Well, thanks, I’ll make sure this money is passed on to the right one.
And so we went our ways and I was still having goose bumps from the experience that I just had, even right now as I write this. I am so impressed and amazed that someone could live that way. I am in awe and inspired by his humility and spirituality. There are so many feelings and experiences that I have encountered during that short time that I cannot explain nor can find in the English dictionary. I have been visiting Jerusalem for almost 10 years now and this is the first time I encountered him who has been living this way and roaming around USA and Israel for 23 years now and it just a wild and wonderful experience that hopefully I get to see this guy again on my next Holyland trip. Perhaps next year, who knows.