Touring with iconic superstar Bob Dylan may have been a life changing experience for Jennifer Goetz, but that wasn’t the only transformational aspect of the journey.
After going on two 6-week tours with Dylan in 1975 in the U.S., rather than feeling elated, she felt empty, completely lost.
“It was like I had climbed a mountain and looked over and there was nothing on the other side,” Jennifer said. “I was so frustrated with life that I determined I would give myself 35 days to find a new way of approaching life. I was so sick of this brain inhabiting this body and just the way I thought about things.”
During those 35 days, Jennifer contracted Bell’s Palsy, which is partial face paralysis.
“As I was going to bed one night, I was brushing my teeth and water came squirting out of the side of my mouth, and I lived alone in an apartment at that point, and I thought to myself, ‘I’m going to go to bed and I’m going to wake up paralyzed,’ and sure enough when I woke up the next morning, half my face was paralyzed.”
The next day, Dylan’s girlfriend, an African American Baptist Woman, grabbed Jennifer by the hands and started praying for her in the name of Jesus.
“I remember that when she was finished I walked out of that trailer and I was stunned, and I looked around and I thought, ‘What was that?’’ she remembers. “And the next day I actually started seeing an improvement and feeling an improvement in my face.”
After the first tour, Jennifer got to join Dylan’s six-week European Tour.
Her quest for truth was not over.
With a friend at a hotel in the desert, Jennifer opened a little drawer and found a red Gideon Bible. She “stole” it, brought it home and began to read.
“I remember opening it up, never having read the Bible before, just opening up to Matthew and reading the words ‘Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of God. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted, Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth,’” said Jennifer. “I thought to myself whoever this Jesus is, I could use a friend like Him.”
Jennifer’s voice teacher took her with his wife to a arge church. About 1,000 people were singing songs to God and enjoying His presence with their hands raised.
“I’m looking around the room thinking to myself, ‘Are these people crazy and I’m the only one sane here, or do they know something that I don’t know?” she said. “I came back desperately wanting to know more what this life is about.”
A friend of Jennifer gave her a book by C.S Lewis called Mere Christianity, which she began reading in a barn in Austin,Texas, while her cousin’s band was playing.
“As I’m reading the book, it was as if these scales literally fell of my eyes. I remember laughing thinking, ‘Oh my gosh, I knew who Jesus was!’ because C.S Lewis said you cannot call Jesus a prophet, or a wise man, or a good man. He allowed people to worship Him and fall at his feet. Either He was who He claimed He was or He was a raving lunatic as crazy as a poached egg or a megalomaniac. But there is no room to call Him good; he was either who he was or he was a mad man.”
Back in California, Jennifer’s friend took her to a Vineyard Church.
“As I was leaving church there in the back was Bob Dylan with his girlfriend Mary Alice. She looked at me and said, ‘Girl you need to go to discipleship school.’”
“No I need a job,” I replied.
“Seek first the kingdom of God and all else will be added to you,” she said.
Jennifer went to Bible school for five months, five days a week, four hours a day with Bob, Mary Alice and nine others.
When she was a little girl, her best friends across the street were Catholic. They told her she would not go to Heaven but might make Purgatory because the Jews had killed Jesus. She learned otherwise from the Bible.
Jennifer is currently married to Marty Goetz, an Emmy-nominated Christian pianist and singer. They both have an adult daughter. She serves as Marty’s manager, record producer, booking and travel agent.
“He is my best friend, but I have an even better friend and it’s Yeshua,” she says. “And I have a very simple childlike faith that He loves me.”
Ryan Zepeda studies at the Lighthouse Christian Academy in Los Angeles.