Jesus Sneakers and Walking in Israel


Can you walk on water? Well, now you can!

A few years ago I read about the “Jesus Shoe,” which sells for over $3,000! These shoes were regular Nike brand shoes (Air Max 97’s) whose soles had been injected with certified ‘blessed-by-a-priest’ water from the Jordan River! These Holy Water sneakers were intended to give the wearer the sensation of walking on well, air pockets that have been filled with water!! Talk about cushy soles for cushy souls! They sold in seconds.


When I first read about the shoes, I thought it was a typical Christian-kitsch product like the ones displayed on the counter of the local Christian bookstore. You know, where you can buy breath mints labeled “New Testamints” or a “Praying Santa” figurine.

But not these shoes! These sneakers were gag shoes. Or at least, there was a marketing purpose behind them. The article here explained the background of the gag. It is hard to pass up the endless jokes and puns that roll down like water: You’ve heard of “Air Jordans”? Well, meet Air Jordan Rivers! Etc.

Keeping it Real

The sneaker story reminded me of several other stories of people who try to add realism and experience to their Christian faith. In one account, Israeli entrepreneurs were planning to build an underwater platform/bridge to simulate walking on water. Other Christians have built Arks, Holy Land Theme Parks, Religious Roller-Coasters, and replicas of bible towns and bible times.

I truly understand this desire. We know that faith in Christ changes lives, but after too long, our faith tends to live only in our heads. Since most of us read about the Christian faith in the bible, it can remain a two-dimensional faith. We even call it that sometimes. We say that our faith has gone “flat.”

But there is something that you can do to add a sense of realism and depth to the Christian faith. Travel to Israel. Come and walk in the footsteps of our Lord. You don’t need special shoes or sneakers, but when your feet do touch the Holy Land, you have a sense that you are standing on Holy Ground.

Every year I lead pilgrims to Israel for a 10-day event that changes lives. People are blown away by the experience of walking in the Holy Land. The first time it happened to me, I was about to turn 40 years old. I had been to college and seminary. I had a great ministry in the church with an ample book allowance. I was duly committed to being a life-long learner as a disciple of Jesus and a Christian leader. But my first trip to Israel in February of 1994 spoiled me for anything else. I still read and study, but my experiences in the Holy Land have brought new dimensions to my faith and my teaching and preaching of the Scriptures.

Since that first trip, I have been back to Israel over 30 times leading groups, both large and small. These trips create real and active encounters with the bible stories that are life-changing.

If you come to Israel, you will not be asked to walk on water. But you can walk near it! You can step into it. And when you do step into it, you will be glad that you took off your shoes for the ground on which you will be standing is Holy Ground.

January 11-20, 2022

Our next open trip is coming up in January 2022. The cost is about the price of a pair of Jesus Shoes!  Seriously.

Go here to learn more about it.

Special and insanely motivating rates are available for all pastors!

Published on

May 6, 2021


David Roseberry

David Roseberry leads the nonprofit ministry, LeaderWorks. He was the founding rector of Christ Church, Plano, Texas, and is the author of many books. He lives in Plano with his wife, Fran.

View more from David Roseberry


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