DAY 4 – THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 20: GAMLA, QATZRIN, SYRIAN BORDER, CAESAREA PHILIPPI, DAN
Today was our second full day here in Israel. We were visibly challenged by the morning fog but the sun peaked out towards late morning, providing a delightful day with temps in the 60s.
Following a full breakfast, we departed from our hotel at 7:30. We read about Jesus calling His first four disciples from Mathew 4 as we started out. We drove around the northern end of the lake and past the site of Bethsaida (Mark 9, John 6 – Feeding of the 5,000). From here we climbed to Golan Heights to an ancient Jewish city called Gamla. This was where there first major battle in the 1st Revolt took place between the Jews and the Romans in 66 AD. The fog didn’t allow us to look down to the site (the picture in the gallery is from another trip). While Gamla is not mentioned in the Bible, some suggest Jesus would have taught from the 1st century synagogue found here in the 1980s.
From here we drove to an ancient Talmudic village called Katzrin (Qatzrin). The ruins at this site date from the 3rd-7th centuries AD. Sitting and standing crowded in a reconstructed stone house, we listened to the story of Mark 2. While this event in Jesus’ life took place in Capernaum, we could picture the story unfolding. Jesus not only healed this paralytic lowered down through the roof by his four friends, but his sins were also forgiven. Jesus displayed His s’mekah (authority) here! Before leaving the site we also saw the Talmudic synagogue as well.
Driving to the northeast, we made a brief stop overlooking the border with Syria. Shlomo shared with us some modern history, including details about the 1967 and 1973 wars. We looked across to the Syrian city of Kuneitra.
We past by Mt. Hermon (Psalm 133) on our way down the slopes of the Golan Heights to the Sa’ar Falls. With the winter rains the falls were filled with lots of water! It was beautiful to see. Some in the group also enjoyed some saclav (a hot Druze drink) and some corn-on-the-cobb.
“I enjoyed once again all the biblical connections with the sites we saw today. Pastor John doesn’t miss an opportunity to share insights into the Bible. So thankful for how thorough this trip is so far!” -Tour Member-
We continued from here to Caesarea Philippi. This is where one of the three tributaries of the Jordan River begin. This spring, called the Banias, was flowing with an abundance of water. We read from Matthew 16 here. It was somewhere in the region of this city where Jesus asked His disciples, “Who do you say I am?” We visited the grotto area of the city, see where the Temple and/or shrines of Augustus, Zeus, Nemesis, and Pan once stood.
Close by is the nature preserve and archaeological site of Tel Dan. We first walked along the Dan Spring (another tributary of the Jordan). Shlomo played a song on his recorder. We also read from (and sang) Psalm 42. We continued our walk to the archeological site. Sitting on the steps of the high place we read from Judges 18 and 1 Kings 12 about the pattern of disobedience that took place here. We also saw a mud-brick gate from the Middle Bronze period (a gate used by Abraham? See Gen. 14:14) and the Israelite ruins.
Our last stop of the day was to Misgav Am. Here we enjoyed an incredible view of Lebanon. The border was right in front of us! Shlomo shared the past history of the two Lebanese wars with Israel and the current situation.
We returned to Tiberias after about an hour drive south. We drove through the Huleh Valley. Upon arriving at our hotel, we enjoyed dinner and fellowship together.