DAY 7 – FRIDAY, JANUARY 16
We started the day at 7:30. Rain was predicted for today, but it did not rain at all. Following breakfast, we boarded the bus on for a day primarily in the Golan Heights. From our kibbutz on the NW corner of the Sea of Galilee, we drove to the NE corner for an overview of the city of Bethsaida. We read from Mark 8 and John 6. Ascending now into the Golan, our first stop was Gamla, a city contemporary with the time of Jesus. This was the “Masada of the north” as it was here that the First Revolt started in 66 AD against the Romans. Here, one of the seven synagogues that date to the time of Jesus can be seen. We read from Acts 5 where there is referenced by Gamaliel a certain “Judas” the Galilean who revolted back in 6 AD.
From here we continued to the “capital” of the Golan, Katzrin (Qatzrin). Here we visited a Talmudic village. A wonderful reconstructed stone house is on display here. Inside, we read from Mark 2 and talked about Jesus’ s’mekah (authority) in forgiving the lame man lowered down to Jesus through the opening in the roof.
Driving north and higher in elevation, our planned stop to Ben Tal (to overlook Syria) was not possible because of the dense fog caused by all the snow on the ground. We literally were forced to drive very slow, with visibility only about 30-40 feet. We drove through a few Druze villages to our lunch stop at Birkat Ram at the foot of Mt. Hermon.
Following lunch we drove west to Caesarea Philippi, a very pagan city in the 1st century. It was in this region where Jesus asked the question of His disciples – “Who do you say I am?” We read from Matthew 16 and Matthew 17 about this exchange as well as about Christ’s transfiguration. The spring here (the Banias spring) is one of the three sources / tributaries of the Jordan River. Close by is the OT site of Dan. We began the visit of this archaeological site by walking through the nature preserve. This is another of the three sources of the Jordan River. We read from Psalm 42. We then saw the “high place” of Dan where Jeroboam set up a false temple. We read from Judges 18 and 2 Kings 12 about the “pattern of disobedience” displayed here. We also looked into Lebanon from here, saw a herd of gazelles, and the Middle Bronze mud-brick gate that dates close to the time of Abraham (Genesis 14:14).
On our drive back along the Hulah Valley, we drove past Abel Beit Maacah, an OT site. We read from 2 Samuel 20 about Sheba’s revolt. We climbed the mountains of Naphtali for a view of Lebanon, but the thick clouds blocked any good view. We arrived back at Nof Ginnosar for dinner. A fun game of “Jeopardy” followed!
DAY 8 – SATURDAY, JANUARY 17
We plan to visit Arbel, Chorazim, Capernaum, boat ride on the lake, Mt. of Beatitudes