Waze is great. Except when it isn’t. But maybe sometimes she knows better.
My destination is the Bethlehem Bible College. From Jerusalem, I easily drive through the Israeli check point leaving Israel for the West Bank, on the outside of the security wall. The wall is a behemoth of concrete and barb wire. It’s two stories high.
After a couple of hours with the dear folks at BBC, I’m on my way back to Jerusalem. I start following the directions Waze calls out. “In a fifth meters turn right.” In one hundred meters turn left.” I think I’m heading back to where I started, back to the check point. But I’m not. Within a handful of minutes, I know Waze is getting it wrong. This is not the way back to the check point. The roads are narrowing. The dense residential areas disappear; replaced by dilapidated empty buildings.
I’m anxious. I’m angry. Waze doesn’t work in the West Bank! I don’t have a map. Google maps doesn’t work. Waze is all I have.
I’m now driving on what would best be called alleys not streets. I have little choice to divert from the path Waze sets out. What better choice do I have. It tells me, “Turn right for fifty meters than turn left.” I decide to see where the directions end.
As it turns out, the end is the security wall. I’m facing the security wall. My options are to turn around and go back from where I came or to make that left turn. I choose to make the left.
I drive slowly on a very narrow street, though it doesn’t seem to have always been. On my left side is an abandoned warehouse. Doors wide open hanging from their door jams. It’s empty. It’s deserted. The wall is on my right. Gray. Imposing. Grafftied. I slowly drive by the warehouse. The road ends here next to the warehouse. It is clear that the road hasn’t always ended here. I drive to the end of the street. Out of my rental car, I stand under the wall. It’s eerily silent. There’s no one around. Just me. I stand before the wall on what was a street next to an abandoned building.
I followed Waze and it took me to an extraordinary place. Ruins of a warehouse, two-story concrete security wall, me, and, I think, Jesus.
Thank you, Waze! I’m sorry I doubted you. I’ll never again. All along you knew where you were taking me.
You led me to see.