Whiter Than Snow

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Yesterday morning, my eyes popped open at 4:20am. Looking out the window of my Jerusalem apartment I saw that it was snowing – heavily! Quickly, I packed up my camera and drove to the top of the Mount of Olives. There I sat for three hours waiting for the sun to rise and the snow to let up so I could get my shot. As I waited, I contemplated a snow-covered Jerusalem. It’s not the first mental picture we usually have when we think of this place. Yet, it is a picture that King David’s mind turned to in his plea for God to forgive him of his sin with Bathsheba.

“Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.” (Psalm 51:7).

“Whiter than snow” we easily understand. But what is the Hyssop? The leaves of the Hyssop plant have very fine fibers which liquids can cling and hold on to…liquids like the blood of animals… the cleansing blood of sacrifice. David yearned to be made clean and cried out for forgiveness. Thousands of years later Jesus, the son of David, willingly poured out his blood as the perfect sacrifice for sin…David’s sin…our sin…the world’s sin.

My waiting paid off. The light came and the storm broke. There lay Jerusalem beneath me, blanketed in deep white snow. The words of the hymn came to mind…

What can wash away our sin?

Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

Oh precious is the flow,

That makes us white as snow.

After getting the shots I needed, I realized that another round of snow was coming. I had just enough time to set up the above time-lapse shot that captured the storm moving in.

Yesterday’s storm dumped around a foot of snow here in Jerusalem. While I waited and filmed…my car got buried! Two Palestinian boys were nice enough to help me dig it out and get unstuck. By the grace of God (and the fervent prayers of my nervous wife) I safely made the slippery drive back home. I understand much better now how David knew about snow…and I hope you do, too. Although it doesn’t snow frequently enough so that the people of Jerusalem know how to drive in it, when it does snow, it makes the city extra beautiful…but not as beautiful as it will one day be! One day, it will be washed “whiter than snow” and gleam, pure and white, with the radiance of the Lord. Come Lord Jesus!!!




  1. Suzy Heath on June 3, 2013 at 7:39 PM

    In the midst of the busyness of setting up Sourceflix Resource Table at the Pastors’Conference, I found this video on Sourceflix website. Suddenly all the ferver faded away and the delight of seeing a snow-covered Jerusalem and reading Joel’s words brought a peace that passes all understanding….ahhhhh…so wonderful! Thanks, Lord! And thank you Joel for braving the cold to bring such an encouraging word to us!

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