A Boy Called Wolf
Updated: Oct 5, 2018
A young mans struggle with addiction
During my stay in Zichron Ya’acov I was having a conversation with one of my neighbors who asked me if I had been to the Roman ruins. She explained they could be accessed just down the road from the park, Ramat HaNadiv, behind our home. The best time to go would be early morning, as even in late September it’s hot by ten or eleven. She also advised me to bring water, as it would be at least a two-hour hike.
My friend, Ester, was arriving from China that very afternoon. She works as a translator for a tour agency from China, which brings groups to Israel. Therefore, she had already seen many of the highlights in Israel, as this was her fifteenth visit. I knew this would be a new adventure for both of us. What I didn’t know was how memorable the following day would be because of the young man we met – “The boy called Wolf.”
We left the house around nine and it was already getting hot. I put 10 shekels in my pocket to purchase water at the gardens, as I didn’t have a small water bottle. After viewing Ramat HaNadiv Gardens we stopped by the information center to get the directions to the Roman ruins and baths.
They were very helpful and also shared that these ruins were one of the springs which fed the aqueducts in Caesarea. We were also told this would be at least an hour hike, and we had better take water, as it was getting hot and there would be little shade along the way. They offered a map for 5 shekels, but we only had ten which was for the purchase of water so we just took a photo of the map. After using the restrooms we stopped by the small concession stand and bought the water for 7 shekels.
Finally, we were on our way with the directions to follow the second trailhead down marked in blue. Yet, when we got to the entrance of the trailhead it seemed confusing as there were several trails marked in blue just a few feet ahead of the others. So, we asked another hiker if he knew which way was best trail for the ruins and fortunately, he did.
We followed the trail he advised us to, yet at times we wondered if we had made a mistake, as it wasn’t maintained. Finally, we saw a narrow road, which seemed to be better for walking and having a conversation so we hiked to it. We were just enjoying our hike, as we hadn’t seen any ruins yet and he said we would see it for sure if we just continued downward.
There were incredible views of the valley below. Around us were rock outcroppings, cactus, trees and desert shrubs. Finally, we saw what we were sure to be the ruins. We worked our way to the other trail and successfully found our destination. Amid the ruins there was a fig tree abounding with fruit. We stopped and talked about the story in the Bible were Jesus cursed the fig tree as it was in season, yet it bared no fruit. Yet, we were blessed to eat a rip fig that day, in the midst of the desert.
As we looked down we could see the baths so we decided to go and check out the spring area. We found the spring but it had been blocked off so people and animals couldn’t contaminate the source. My friend drank from the spring, but I had my bottle of water and wasn’t quite sure if it was safe to drink. As we walked out we saw a young couple sitting at a small bath with their feet dangling in the cool water.
We asked if we could join them, and they happily obliged. It was so refreshing after our walk. I began to splash water on my face and arms to cool myself down. My friend, Ester, brought an umbrella with her as she always does to protect herself from the sun. Now, I was wishing this were my cultures custom, as she seemed less bothered by the heat of the day.
As we celebrated the coolness of the water, a handsome young man with a sweet smile walked towards us carrying a guitar. He dropped of his guitar, removed his clothing to his briefs and came over to the bath. He greeted us and asked in perfect English if we minded if he took a dip. Longing to jump in myself, of course we all told him to go for it. After his dip he chatted with us for a short while than preceded to fill his container with water from the spring, which flowed into the bath through a pipe.
I was still wondering if it was safe to drink. We watched him as he filled cups with pine needles. He boiled the water and brought each of us a cup of tea. This was my first time for having pine needle tea so I wasn’t sure if it was safe, but the young Jewish couple assured us that it was fine.
Next, he brought us a long pod like plant he wanted us to eat. After dialog in Hebrew and English we discovered it was cacao. Hesitant, I watched him and the others break it open and eat. I’ve always prided myself on my adventurous spirit so still not even knowing what to expect I decided, why not, and followed instructions on how to eat what was in the pod while throwing away the seeds.
This young man reminded me of my son, Ian. Ian is now in heaven due to a drug overdose. Ian was full of life, he made people feel welcome, and his endearing personality captured hearts everywhere he went. Many times I literally saw him give the shirt off his back. Especially, when we lived in Africa. Sharing with others was just who he was and the twinkle in his eye along with his sweet smile warmed the coldest of hearts.
During our conversation, Wolf, Zeeb: (זְאֵב) in Hebrew, asked me about my family and I shared with him that I had two biological sons and one of them reminded me so much of him, but he was now in Heaven. Later in our conversation he looked into my eyes and asked me how Ian died. I shared that Ian had died of a drug overdose. I share about what a wonderful free spirit Ian was – that he was a beautiful soul who left us way too soon.
We talked about many things that day, but my attention kept going back to this young man because I knew in my heart - he too struggled with drugs. We talked of the military in Israel and I asked if he served or would he be serving. He shared he had been given a medical out, as he wasn’t stable enough to serve. The other young couple shared their story.
The lovely girl who I’m guessing was maybe eighteen or nineteen was now serving in educational field, and the young man would soon be starting his service. They had known each other for years and were very much in love. They were pondering marriage: to marry now or wait till after their military obligation.
Several minutes into our discussion, Wolf asked us what we thought of drug use. Of course I am very bias on this subject as not only did I loose my son to this venomous culprit, but also it has been an issue in my family line. I shared my sentiments softly as I felt I knew what would be coming next. Either he was going to ask us if we wanted drugs or he was going to confess that he had a problem.
Thankfully, it was the second. Wolf as I called him, openly shared his struggle with drugs and that he had just quit. I felt there was deep pain that fretted this wounded young wolf; he plunged himself into the wilderness to hide from society, yet at the same time he was still seemed hopeful as he engaged with us. I asked him if I could pray for him. I just knew the Lord had brought me to this spot to meet him. He said yes, and I began to speak life into his spirit.
I told him that God loved him and wanted him to live, and like the young couple that sat with us, he needed to find good relationships. He asked if we would also pray that he could stop drinking and smoking. We prayed again! My heart was so happy for his open heart for prayer, yet I knew his battle wasn't over.
As we took photos together, and said goodbye I wished that I had more than 3 shackles in my pocket. I didn’t even offer them, but instead I presented the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. I felt like Peter who said in Acts 3:16 “Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.” I told him when I left that I would continue to pray and I have. His journey is not over. This young man touched my heart. My heart cries out, “Rise up and walk in the name of Jesus Christ.”
Remember the childhood story of The Boy Who Cried Wolf? Most of us were told this story as children. It is about a boy who is a young shepherd. He watched the sheep and he cried for help, “wolf, wolf” on three different occasions. The first two times people ran to his aid, but there was no wolf. Yet, on the third time when he called for help no one came as the people thought he was just faking again, yet this time there was a wolf and he was killed.
This story has come to mind many times as I pray for Wolf. Yet, this time it is a beautiful young man who is crying out for help. He is not a wolf but a shepherd boy. I would like to say there is no wolf for he is the wolf and that there is no one faking it, but both would not be the truth. The WOLF is addiction. This young man is crying out, just like many of our young people are crying out. They may seem like they are doing their best, yet how many are just faking it. They are trying to disguise their problem (the WOLF) because they do not want to be identified as an addict. Yet, they need our HELP. They need our prayers!
During our conversation at the baths Wolf also shared he changed his name. He said that he was given the name Nimrod. I remember all of us there agreeing it was good that he changed his name. The name Nimrod means rebel or rebellion in Hebrew. Nimrod was attributed to building the Tower of Babel.
The empire of Babylon under Nimrod was an affront both to God and man, an affront to God in that it sought to do without God (Gen. 11:1-9)
This young man wanted to be renamed because he didn’t want to be identified in this way. He actually was seeking God. He seemed to have a polytheist viewport, but he was open for prayer. Open for help! When we think of those who struggle with drugs how do we identify them?
Wolf, Zeeb: (זְאֵב) changed his name as didn’t want to be seen as a rebel. Wolf is not an “affront to God.”
God loves him! I will continue to pray for him always as the Lord places him on my heart. And I'm committed to pray for all those beautiful souls who are out there struggling, crying out for help, trying to fake it, while needing a community to stand with them. Just as Ester and I had to go from path to path to find our way to the spring, I believe Zeeb (Wolf) will find his way to Jesus, the spring of life.
Before we left, each of us wrote in Wolf’s journal. My prayer is that as he reads my words of encouragement that he would look to Jesus as the spring of life (just as without hesitation he jumped into the pool that day) and that he would find hope for tomorrow. I believe his life will be fruitful in season just like the small fig tree we ate from that day. I have hope for him for brighter days without the desire for drugs, alcohol and tobacco. And, that he would find good people who with come along side him - People who are warm and generous just as he is.
Is it too much to ask you to join me in this fight to pray for those who struggle with addictions? Let’s join forces to save our youth.
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy,” Jesus says in John 10:10. “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
Let’s lead people to Jesus for it is through Him that lives become full. Wolf, Zeeb: (זְאֵב) wherever you are today - know I am committed to pray for you! Thank you for sharing your day with us. Remember wolves run in packs. You don't have to take this journey alone!