Do you have a place to go for safety, relief, and refuge? Is there somewhere or someone with whom you can let down and be totally yourself? Where no one is expecting you to “perform” or live up to some mandatory standard or expectation?
Everybody, I believe, needs a place like that. Would it shock you to know that even Jesus Himself needed that kind of a situation? You may be surprised to see in Scripture how often our Savior repaired to Bethany. Why? Because everybody needs a Bethany.
A Life-Saving Truth
In the sections to come, we will see that for Jesus, Bethany was a place where He could be free from the pressures He faced in His role as Savior of the world. I first heard this concept explained by Jim Reid, a very close friend of mine. Jim and his wife Sandy have been an absolute gift of God to Cindi and me over at least four decades of our lives.
Twenty years ago, in a rather casual, natural way, Jim first shared with me these truths about everyone’s need for a Bethany—an oasis of refuge and relief. It was at a time in my life and ministry when I desperately needed that kind of place.
Ironically, Jim not only taught me about it—he and Sandy became Bethany for Cindi and me, opening their hearts to us in an amazing way. Why? Because they had discovered this very significant truth for themselves: everybody needs a Bethany.
A Place to Reflect
Let’s look at one Bethany moment in the life of Jesus. In Mark 11, we read about the last trips Jesus made to Jerusalem before His arrest and crucifixion. Verse 11 tells us: “And Jesus went into Jerusalem and into the temple. So when He had looked around at all things, as the hour was already late, He went out to Bethany with the twelve.”
The wording about Jesus’ examination of the temple is so understated: “when He had looked around at all things.” Jesus took it all in. Was He pleased with what He saw? Probably not, if the events of the next day are any measure of how He felt about it.
The following day, after having a quiet, unfettered night in Bethany to reflect upon what He had seen the day before, Jesus made His way toward the temple. (On His way there, He cursed the fig tree, which was a harbinger for what happened next.) When He entered the temple, without any hesitation or warning, Jesus began to drive out the merchants. Then He proceeded to overturn the tables of the money changers.
Obviously, Jesus had not been pleased by what He had seen the day before. He had needed a quiet place to process what He would do next. Jesus needed a Bethany.
Finding Your Equilibrium
Do you have a Bethany? A place where you can let down completely? A peaceful enough location—possibly in the presence of people who dearly love you—that you can regain your equilibrium in the midst of disturbing experiences?
Sometimes, as in the example of Jesus, our first option for Bethany is to go to the Father. His times of solitude—spending time alone with God—were the key for Him.
Often, after unpleasant encounters in Jerusalem, Jesus repaired to Bethany, just two miles away. There, in the company of people who revered Him—Lazarus, Martha, and Mary—He could be Himself. There, He was loved unconditionally. That’s a Bethany.
His Bethany friends were a stark contrast to the Jewish officials who were constantly laying traps for Jesus, opposing Him to His face, challenging and questioning His authority, and ultimately plotting to kill Him. These loyal friends in Bethany simply welcomed and treasured Jesus—making Him feel at home and at ease.
Do you have a place like that? I firmly believe that everybody needs a Bethany.
The Primary Place
In a powerful message, “Father God,” Derek Prince reminds us of the primary place Jesus went for restoration—a site of higher priority than the tiny town of Bethany. What was that place? Jesus went first and foremost into the presence of the Father.
Jesus continues with words [Matthew 11:28–30] that are familiar and famous: “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
What was His yoke and His burden? To do the Father’s will. It was His relationship with the Father. Jesus said, “If you’re struggling, if you’re perplexed, if you’re anxious, if you’re frustrated, if you’re not satisfied with the way your life is going, come to Me. I can reveal the Father to you—and that will be a life-changing revelation. It will give you a new sense of belonging. It will bring you into true rest.”
How many of you are really enjoying rest? There’s not much rest in our contemporary culture. You can look for it in vain. So, do you know what rest is? Do you know what it is to relax? There is only one place you can find rest—in the bosom of the Father. Jesus will reveal Him to you.
Finding Your Bethany
I wish I knew you well enough to give more specific directions in finding your Bethany. Possibly, it might be a solitary place where you experience the presence of the Lord in a special way. (My dear friend and co-worker, Philip Wyns, has a specific location in the woods to process his thoughts and seek the Lord. It works for him.)
For me, Bethany is sometimes a place of solitude. More often, it takes the form of close relationships with friends and family. For example, I love to spend time with my brother-in-law, Glenn Basham. (Neither of us has a brother, so for over fifty years now, we have been brothers to one another.) When we are together, there is no pretense or hype. We genuinely find the peace of God together through our times of fellowship.
Would you join me now in asking the Lord to help you find your Bethany?
Lord Jesus, I see how You drew strength and restoration from being in the presence of the Father, but also from being with loyal friends in Bethany who loved You unconditionally. I confess that I need a place like that.
Would You please help me to find my Bethany? Please help me to identify it so I can get there and draw deeply from it.
Lord, I trust You to lead me to that place where I can commune with You and with those who love You. That location where I can receive the rest, strength, and acceptance that will bring the restoration You want to provide. Thank You for Your help in this matter. Amen.
A New Season for Us
This matter of finding your Bethany may already be a settled issue for you. If that is the case, I am so grateful that the Lord has revealed that place to you. But if you are still searching, as expressed in the prayer you and I just offered, let’s believe together in faith that the Lord has truly opened up a new season of finding Bethany in our lives.
All of us at DPM want to be a part of that season for you. Clearly, the best place to begin is with solid revelation that comes from the Word of God. We have found that Derek Prince’s amazing teaching is often a key element in unlocking helpful revelation in our lives. Please feel free to contact us to receive these materials. You can start today by downloading a free MP3 of “Father God,” the full message from which Derek’s quote was taken. (There is a download link below.)
We are happy to provide this resource to you free of charge. Doing so is just one small way for us to thank you for your love, your prayers, and your support.
The Secret Place
As I close this letter, the phrase that comes to mind regarding our need for a Bethany is three simple words: “the secret place.” It applies to Jesus and to us as well.
The most familiar use of “the secret place,” is in Psalm 91:1: “He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.” This is a truth Jesus knew very well, as we saw earlier from Derek’s quote. All through His life and ministry, His regular place of refuge was the solitary time He spent with the Father—drawing strength and rest from intimate fellowship with His loving Father.
The old hymn, “Near to the Heart of God” says it so well: “There is a place of quiet rest, near to the heart of God.” Without question, our very first and very best Bethany is the secret place— in the presence of the Father, under the shadow of His wing.
But it is not an either/or solution. It’s both/and. Jesus went to the Father—and He also found rest and restoration by being with His supportive friends in Bethany.
Yes, we go to the Father! But also, like Jesus, we go to Bethany. What conclusion do we draw from the example our Savior has set for us? Everybody needs a Bethany.
All the best,
Derek Prince reveals the blessings of truly knowing God as our Father.
Download this Teaching Letter
A free copy of this Teaching Letter is available to download and share for personal use.