The month of Nisan – A time to forget
Living in Jerusalem allows one the unique opportunity to learn new things all the time. As one who lives here is closer to God’s culture, it will not surprise people to believe that this is the case.
One interesting story that I heard recently relates now to the time of year we find ourselves in. The month of Nisan began this year (2007) on March 20. This begins the springtime festivals of Israel starting with Passover coming up on April 3. Now Nisan in Hebrew refers to “first fruits” or “something new,” however, there is an interesting idea that someone proposed to me recently which I wish to share it with you and it may represent a very ancient way of looking at this month of the year.
I think that all of us have heard of the phrase “April Showers.” It refers to those early spring rains that are so lovely and help make spring into the beautiful season that it is.
However, there may be something more to those April showers than just helping the plants grow. A woman that I know here in Jerusalem told me a very interesting story. She relates that on a trip into Jerusalem’s Old City, she passed by an apothecary to get some spices. Now, traditional herbal medicine is quite common here in the Holy Land and they have these amazing shops which have almost every spice you can think of. (Note that Israel is located on an ancient spice route see http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1107/, which documents a new designation of this spice route from UNESCO).
When the woman went into the apothecary, she was looking for something to remove a small wart on her hand. She had tried numerous other remedies, but to no avail. So she asked the man what to do about it. He then produced a bottle of regular water and told the woman to put the hand affected by the wart inside. She asked him what that was and he said it was rainwater collected in the month of Nisan (which normally occurs around April time). Now, in Arabic, the names of the months are about the same names as the Hebrew names, however, the word Nisan comes from the Arabic root which means, “to forget.” Then, the man told the woman: “Immerse the affected area in this water and forget about the wart.” She did as she said and she told me that within a few days, the wart disappeared.
This may sound like an interesting story of folk medicine, but isn’t it interesting that in the month of Nisan, just before the Passover in 30 AD, God, in a sense, put all of the sins of the world on Jesus Christ and with his death, they were forgotten.
To close, in this regard, it is good to refer to that very important passage in Jeremiah 31:31-34, which talks about that new covenant between God and Israel, and the final thought in that very important passage is that “I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more." (Jeremiah 31:34). It is a wonderful thing to remember at this time of year that God “forgot” our sins. Thank you, Lord, for this wonderful gift.