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Israel, Day 4

It's 5:15 AM on Saturday as I sit down to write. I normally post after dinner each day, but my brother, bro-in-law,and wife were sitting out on the patio of our room (we're staying here for the rest of our time in Israel) taking in the view of the Mt of Olives and the Church of the Ascension on our left to the golden dome of the of the Dome of the rock on the temple mount - Mt. Moriah. I guess I begin with the end of the day first, our arrival into Jerusalem. I was not prepared for how stirred I was by my first sight of the old city. I was listening to "Lift Up Your Heads" by Tommy Walkers as we entered the Jerusalem and saw the old city. This son was based on Psalm 24, one of the Psalms of Ascent. The tour guide took us to another of the surrounding hillsides, Mt Scopius, and we could see the Eastern Gate to the city of David which has been closed, will will be where the King of Glory will enter the city to establish His kingdom. There's something about Jerusalem that I can't explain, but that resonates in the heart of everyone who visits here. But that's just the end of the day...

I woke up yesterday early, like today, and stepped outside on the balcony of our look, overlooking the Sea of Galilee. On the lake I saw a small boat headed towards the dock below our hotel. I thought, "there's no way...," but it was what I thought. The boat pulled up and the two men began to unload thier night's catch of fish. That's my last picture of the Galilee...so cool. We boarded the bus and set out for the day.

Golan Heights
Originally part of Syria, this hillside along the eastern shore of the Kinneret was where Abraham would have first seen the promised land. It was taken by Israel during the Yom Kippur or Six Day War in 1967. At one point, we were only a few miles from Damascus. From there we drove along the Syrian-Jordanian-Israeli border.

Bet She'an
This amazing place was another important settlement on the Via Maris. This city has the most extensive excavation work done in all of Israel. The Roman city on site, Scythopolis, was one of the decapolis ("ten cities") of the Roman Occupation. Most of what has been excavated is from the time of Jesus, but there's a tell that's knows to be the site of at least 20 cities dating back as far as 5000 years, including Jewish, Caananite, and even Egyptian rule.

Biblically, this is the site where King Saul and Jonathan's bodies were put on display after the defeat by the Philistines. Jabeth Giliad is the hillside across the valley from where the Jews came an got Saul and Jonathan's bodies and returned them for burial.

In Jesus' day, this probably was the most important Roman city (next to Caesarea on the coast). It was a metropolitan city like this, with the bath-houses and brothels, and pagan temples, which Jesus would have referenced in the story of the Prodigal Son. This could have been where Jesus told the demoniac to go after he was delivered to "tell the Gentiles." This city was destroyed in October of 79 AD after a massive earthquake. It was also one of the locations used during the filming of Jesus Christ Superstar. To view some photos, click here.

Ma'ayan Harod - Gideon Springs
This was a beautiful spot! This small creek is fed by a spring inside a cave. This is the location where Gideon's army was separated by God according to the men who either lapped the water face down or cupped their hands and brought it to their mouths to drink. The Mideanites were camped only a few hundred yards away from where this took place.

From here we drove through the West Bank, known in the scripture as Samaria (the woman at the well, the story of the Good Samaritan). Because these areas are under Palestinian control, we were not able to visit Jericho. We were passing through on our way to our final site of the day.

This is the site of the most important archaeological discovery in all of Israel, the Dead Seas Scrolls. On these hillsides (which look like the Mojave Desert and are just as hot! It was 100 degrees plus today) overlooking the Dead Sea, that multiple scrolls of the the Old Testament were found in these caves carved into the mountainsides. We'll see the scrolls as we visit the museum where they are housed in Jerusalem.

My thoughts...
- Never bring a tour in July...IT IS SO HOT!
- The Jordan Valley is very beautiful farmland, like the San Joaquin valley at home. Where the river flows there is life.

There's much more to say, but we leave for the Dead Sea and Masada in a few minutes...got to go.

PS: To view all our photos from today, CLICK HERE

Comments (1)

mkitada [TypeKey Profile Page]:

Incredible. Thanks for the amazing updates. Your insights make me so happy for you and Jayme. We have got to go next year.
Can't wait to hear all of your thoughts and sermons on your journey. Stay safe.

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on July 20, 2007 7:22 PM.

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