The Jerusalem Syndrome.
It describes a phenomenon that affects first time visitors to the city of Jerusalem. Regardless of religious persuasion, some visitors may experience a religious-themed psychosis, delusions, and/or obsessive ideas about religion. They may wander away from their tour groups to journey alone to revered religious sites, begin reciting Bible verses, and even start preaching and experiencing Messianic visions.
Though it is not officially recognized as a psychiatric disease by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (aka DSM), published by the American Psychiatric Association, nearly all researchers agree this is a psychosomatic illness with very real signs and symptoms. Others have drawn connections to other seemingly related events such as the Stendhal syndrome, with similar physical and hallucinatory visions affecting first time visitors to Florence, Italy. Researchers have also suggested that some individuals experiencing this syndrome may have an antecedent history of mental illness. But in many cases, there is no history of mental illness. The syndrome resolves, either by leaving the city and/or receiving supportive medical care.
..But I have chosen Jerusalem that my name may be there, and I have chosen David to be over my people Israel.
2 Chronicles 6:6 (ESV)
Why Jerusalem? Why not Mecca? Why not Mathura? For reasons known only to God, He chose Jerusalem to be the fulcrum of Judeo-Christian history and arguably, the world. Thus it IS special and it is not surprising the human mind can project and extract such extravagant visions of the city.
I have never been to Jerusalem though I sincerely hope to visit the city and Israel someday. Whether I will experience the Jerusalem Syndrome remains to be seen. However, I have no doubt I will be inspired. A visit to Jerusalem may represent many different ideals and aspirations for different faiths and cultures. I pray that all who visit and live in Jerusalem will have the revelation that this city is not a magical mystical tour but a destination with a far greater and eternal purpose.
At that time Jerusalem shall be called the throne of the Lord, and all nations shall gather to it, to the presence of the Lord in Jerusalem, and they shall no more stubbornly follow their own evil heart.
Jeremiah 3:17 (ESV)
The Jerusalem syndrome does exist but not in the way physicians have characterized it. God has clearly revealed that all who come to Jerusalem should repent of their sins and call upon Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.
This is the true Jerusalem syndrome…and I am eternally grateful that I have been afflicted with it!
Love and trust the Lord; seek His will in your life.