June 2018 Israel-Jordan Tour Update – Day 13 & 14

DAY 13 – FRIDAY, JUNE 22: MASADA, EIN GEDI, QUMRAN, BETH SHEMESH/SOREK VALLEY, QEIYAFA/ELAH VALLEY

Today was our last full day in Israel. It was a hot and dry one, with high temps about 105 at the Dead Sea area and 90s later in the afternoon. 

Masada

Sunrise

Sunrise on the Dead Sea

Leaving the hotel just before 8 a.m. (greeted by a wonderful sunrise), we drove just a short 15 minutes to Masada. On the way we read from Psalm 18:1-2 about God being our metzada (“fortress”). The site of Masada may also have been David’s stronghold as mentioned in the last part of 1 Samuel 24.

We took the cable car to the top. From both Eli and Shlomo, we heard the remarkable story of 967 Jews who found refuge from the Romans on this “palace-fortress” from 70-73 AD (originally built by Herod the Great about 100 years prior). All but 5 of them took their own lives, convinced that this was a better way to die than to fall to the swords of the Romans.

masada

Masada (northern palace)

On top we saw one of Herod’s palaces (he also had a three-tier northern palace), the case-mate wall, the Roman ramp (on the west side), the bathhouse, and the synagogue. Because of the heat, the Snake Path was closed, preventing us from walking down. So we all descended on the cable car.

Engedi

Engedi Israel

Engedi

About 15 minutes north is Engedi. Walking up into the canyon (Wadi David), we read from Songs of Songs 1 (“henna blossoms of Ein Gedi…”), 2 Chronicles 20, and 1 Samuel 24. This last story involves David hiding from Saul in one of the many caves here. We also walked back to the 2nd water falls, with some enjoying getting wet under some of the water falls. This must have also been an oasis of water back in biblical days! It is also the home of many ibex and coneys (Psalm 104). We saw many ibex!

Qumran

Cave 1 Qumran

Inside Cave 1 at Qumran

The last site here in the Judean Desert along the Dead Sea was Qumran. During the lunch hour, some braved the extreme heat and hiked to Cave 1. This was where the first Dead Sea Scrolls were found. Biblical scholarship changed with this discovery in 1947!

After the lunch hour, we visited the small archaeological site of Qumran. We saw any miqvot (ritual baths), the scriptorium, and the aqueduct. In front of Cave 4 (one of 12 caves now where scrolls were found), we read from “Psalm 151” (one of a few extra psalms found here at Qumran, written by David), 2 Timothy 3:16, and Psalm 19. Praise God for the preservation of His Word!

Beth Shemesh

Beth Shemesh

Beth Shemesh

From here we drove north and then west to Jerusalem. Ascending up and over Israel’s capital, we descended down on the western side to the Shephelah (lowlands) of Judah. The first site (of two in this region) was Beth Shemesh. Climbing the southern end of the site, we viewed the Sorek Valley, Zorah & Eshtaol (where Samson was from, Judges 13), Timnah (where Delilah was from….it is located down the valley just a few miles to the west). We read from 1 Samuel 6 about how the Ark of the Covenant was returned here by the Philistines.

Kh. Qeiyafa

Qeiyafa

The Elah Valley (from Kh. Qeiyafa) where David defeated Goliath

Our last site of the day (and the tour) is a relatively new archaeological site called Kh. Qeiyafa. It is located along the Elah Valley. It may have been the ancient city of Shaaraim. We read from 1 Samuel 17 and could see David defeating the Goliath, the Philistine giant, in the narrow part of the valley to the east. We rejoiced together that God offers His help in all of our own battles of life!

Leaving the site, we drove west to our hotel in Tel Aviv. We enjoyed dinner together, followed by a free evening.  We pack up and leave on three different flights in the morning.

DAY 14 – SATURDAY, JUNE 23: ARRIVAL BACK IN THE U.S.A.

This morning we will fly home. Praise be to God for everyone He brought together!

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June 2018 Israel-Jordan Tour Update – Day 12

DAY 12 – THURSDAY, JUNE 21: SOUTHERN BORDER CROSSING INTO ISRAEL, RED SEA, TIMNAH, EIN BOKEK/DEAD SEA

With Sammy’s wake-up call, we arose out of our private tents for breakfast. After packing up the bus, we said goodbye to the Wadi Rum desert enroute for the Israel border. The day would be a warmer, with temps in the afternoon in the low 100s.

Rabin Border Crossing / Coral Beach – Red Sea

Coral Beach

Coral beach, Elat

It took about an hour’s drive to reach the border with Israel. This southern border crossing is called the Rabin Border, named after the late Prime Minister. The crossing went smoothly. 57 of us crossed in about 75 minutes! We were met on the Israeli side by Shlomo and Eli (our guides) and our Israeli drivers.

Upon packing up, we drove to Elat and to Coral Beach. Many went swimming the Red Sea. The fish, coral, and deep blue color of the water was remarkable! The underwater world of God’s creation is also beautiful!

Timnah

Tabernacle Model

The Tabernacle Model at Timnah

Driving north we arrived at Timnah. This was an ancient Egyptian copper mine back in the days of the 14-12th centuries BC. We drove around to the other side of Timnah to the full-scale replica of the Tabernacle. The dimensions are 150 x 75 feet. We were guided by a Messianic believer who shared the details of the Tabernacle as well as the many ways in which Christ fulfilled the Tabernacle. We read from Hebrews 9. Before leaving Timnah, we also saw Solomon’s Pillars, with some in the group hiking up and around this unique stone cliff.

Yovata

Continuing north we stopped for a late lunch at Yovata. This is a dairy kibbutz in southern Israel that has some of the best ice cream!  We enjoyed the many flavors they offered!

Ein Bokek/Dead Sea Hotel

Dead Sea

Southern end of the Dead Sea (at Ein Bokek)

About two hours north is the hotel city of Ein Bokek. It is located on the southern end of the Dead Sea. We checked into our hotel and enjoyed dinner and a free evening. Some also floated again prior to dinner in the Dead Sea and/or in the hotel pool filled with Dead Sea water. 

DAY 13 – FRIDAY, JUNE 22: MASADA, EIN GEDI, QUMRAN, QEIYAFA/ELAH VALLEY, GEZER

This will be our last full day!

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June 2018 Israel-Jordan Tour Update – Day 11

DAY 11 – WEDNESDAY, JUNE 20: PETRA, WADI RUM

Wow… what an incredible day and with an amazing display of God’s glory and splendor in the unique beauty of His creation. We enjoyed the sun and temps in the 80s.

Petra

Petra

Petra’s famous “Treasury” Tomb

Leaving the hotel at 7:30 again after breakfast ad packing up, we drove to the entrance of the ancient Nabatean city of Petra! This is the heart of the Seir Mountains, the land of the Edomites of the Old Testament. This is a red-rose city that is one of the seven wonders of the world! We spent 7 hours here!

Entering the site together, we walked through the 1.5 mile Siq or the canyon of Petra. It brought us to the first monument , the famous “Treasury” or “Al-Khazneh.” This well-preserved monumental tomb appeared in the movie “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.” 

High place petra

The High Place at Petra

From here we continued into this city of tombs to the theater form the 1st century AD. We also passed by the Royal Tombs (e.g. Urn Tomb). Some explored these tombs. About 20 in the group continued down the Roman street to the trail that leads to the second most famous tomb, the Monastery tomb. From just above this tomb we could see across the Aravah valley into Israel!

We all returned to the Treasury for our walk out of the Siq back to the visitor center. Nine in the group, however, hiked up a back trail to the High Place. While this hike was more difficult, the view from the top made it worth it!

Wadi Rum

Jeep rides wadi rum

Jeep rides at Wadi Rum

Leaving the site of Petra at 3 p.m., we drive south to Wadi Rum. Here we enjoyed an amazing jeep ride in the desert. Some road camels while all of us enjoyed the sunset over the beautiful mountains to the west. We then stay in Wadi Rum at Captain’s, a Bedouin Village. We ate dinner together in Bedouin style. This was followed by a brief devotional time under the brilliant desert stars. 

The entire day was a unique experience!

DAY 12 – THURSDAY, JUNE 21: SOUTHERN BORDER CROSSING INTO ISRAEL, RED SEA, TIMNAH, EIN BOKEK/DEAD SEA

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June 2018 Israel-Jordan Tour Update – Day 10

DAY 10 – TUESDAY, JUNE 19: ALLENBY BRIDGE, BETHANY BEYOND THE JORDAN, MT. NEBO, MEDEBA, MACHAERUS, PETRA

Today we left Jerusalem and drove to the border with Jordan. The weather was again predictably sunny and comfortably warm, Wirth highs around 90.

Bethany Beyond the Jordan

Bethany beyond the jordan

The view from “Bethany Beyond the Jordan” back to Jericho in Israel

It took about 50 minutes to drive to the Allenby Border Crossing. From departing Israel to completing the passport process in Jordan, the whole crossing took about two hours. On the Jordan side we met our guides, Sam and Wa’el. Driving just a short distance we arrived at Bethany Beyond the Jordan. We walked down to the Jordan River. Jesus was baptized in this area (John 1). In the days of the OT, Elijah also was taken to heaven here (2 Kings 2). We also read from Joshua 3 about the crossing of the Jordan River.

Mt. Nebo

Mt. Nebo

The view of the “Promised Land” from Mt. Nebo

Driving up the mountains of Moab, we arrived at Mt. Nebo. On the way we were delayed because of the car on fire on the side of the road. The view from on top was very good. We could clearly see the Dead Sea, Jericho, and even the taller buildings in Jerusalem! We read from Deuteronomy 31, 34, and Joshua 1. Moses died here and handed the leadership over to Joshua. His words, “Do not be afraid or discouraged…” reminded us to trust in God even though we do know know what tomorrow may bring. Nearby we stopped at a mosaic school and store. Handicapped people learn to do mosaics here. We also saw a replica of the Medeba Map, a mosaic map dating to the 6th century AD.

Machaerus

Machaerus

Machaerus

About an hour’s drive from here is Machaerus. This was first a Jewish-Hasmonian palace-fortress built by Jannaeus in about 100 BC. Later Herod the Great rebuilt it as one of his palace-fortresses. It would late serve as a fortress by Jewish rebels in the First Revolt (66 AD). Climbing to the top the view of there Dead Sea and the Judean Desert to the west was amazing! On top we saw the palace where John the Baptist’s head was brought (Matthew 14) as well as a few Jewish miqve (ritual baths).

Drive to Petra

Returning close to Medeba, we drove on the Desert Highway to Wadi Musa or the city of ancient Petra. It is located in the area of ancient Edom. The drive took about 3.5 hours. We stopped once on the way for snacks and bathrooms. We checked in to our very nice hotel, enjoyed dinner together, and then retired for the evening. We are excited to experience Petra tomorrow!

DAY 11 – WEDNESDAY, JUNE 20: PETRA, WADI RUM

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June 2018 Israel-Jordan Tour Update – Day 9

DAY 9 – MONDAY, JUNE 18: TEMPLE MOUNT, JEWISH QUARTER, SHORASHIM, ISRAEL MUSEUM, YAD VASHEM

Today was the first day of the optional extension. The weather was perfect, with comfortable highs in the mid 80s and full sun. It was our last full day here in Jerusalem.

Temple Mount

Temple Mount

The Temple Mount & Western Wall

Leaving the hotel shortly after 7:30 again, we arrived at the Western Wall. Here we stood in a short line to ascend to the Temple Mount. Going through security, we walked the ramp leading into this area where both the 1st and 2nd Temples once stood. Today stands the Dome of the Rock (built in 691 AD). We also saw the Al Asqa mosque (built 20 years after the Dome). We remembered the connections with the Bible with there Temples (Solomon’s First Temple, Jesus teaching in the Temple, Court of the Gentiles, Israelites, Chamber of Hewn Stone, Leviticsl steps, Holy Chamber, etc…). We walked to the inside of the closed Eastern Gate and departed from the western side.

Herodian Mansion

Herodian mansion

The 1st century ruins of the Herodian Mansion in the Jewish Quarter

Climbing up to the Jewish Quarter, we visited the Herodian Mansion. Wow, this was quite impressive. After Israel took the Old City in 1967, the opportunity to excavate this area opened up. The ruins are primarily from the 1st century and were destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD. The ruins displayed reveal that this mansion was owned by someone important, perhaps even the High Priest (like Caiaphas?). 

Shorashim  

In the heart of the Jewish Quarter is a store named Shorashim. Cramming inside we heard both Dov and Moshe, two Orthodox Jews, share about Jewish customs and their faith. The Q & A time was interesting. Some of the questions touched on the topic of who the Messiah is. After about 30 minutes here, we had some free time to eat, shop, and explore (some climbed the Lutheran Redeemer Church tower for the view of the Old City.

Israel Museum

royal head Abel Beit Maacah

The new display of the royal head from Abel Beit Maacah excavation.

This afternoon we drove to west Jerusalem, we arrived at the Israel Museum. Here we saw the 1:50 model of Jerusalem the way it looked in 70 AD. We retracted the steps of Jesus in and out of this city, including the Temple courts. We also walked through the Shrine of the Book. We saw some of the Dead Sea Scroll texts displayed here. Last, we walked through the archaeological wing of the museum to see the highlights of things that connect us to the Bible. This included the newly-displayed 9th century BC “kingly head.” It was made of faience (glass-like) and reveals the head of either Ben Hadad, Hazel (Aramean kings) or even Ahab (?).

Yad Vashem – Holocaust Museum & Memorial

Yad Vashem

Yad Vashem’s Children’s Memorial

We ended the day at Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust Museum & Memorial. We heard the personal stories of both Shlomo and Eli about their families. We walked through the Children’s Memorial and later the museum. Although the experience here was quite difficult, it was very moving.

We returned to our hotel for dinner and our last optional walk (to the Promenade). We leave for Jordan tomorrow morning!

DAY 10 – TUESDAY, JUNE 19: ALLENBY BRIDGE, BETHANY BEYOND THE JORDAN, MT. NEBO, MEDEBA, MACHARUS, PETRA

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June 2018 Israel-Jordan Tour Update – Day 8

DAY 8 – SUNDAY, JUNE 17: WESTERN WALL TUNNEL, SOUTHERN STEPS, CITY OF DAVID, HEZEKIAH’S TUNNEL, SILOAM POOL, DRAINAGE CHANNEL, HOLY SEPULCHER CHURCH, POOLS OF BETHESDA, FAREWELL DINNER

Today was another great day! It was the last day for those not doing the trip extension. The sun was bright again with temps a little cooler in the high 80s today.

City of David

Hezekiah's Tunnel

Hezekiah’s Tunnel

Departing once again this morning at 7:30 after breakfast, we drove down in the Hinnom Valley to the City of David. At first we did two things: we viewed the area from an observation tower and we watched a 3-D movie about the history of the city. We focused on David’s conquering of the city of Jebus (the previous name of the city, 2 Samuel 5), and Hezekiah’s defense of the city against the Assyrians (2 Kings 20, 2 Chr. 32, Is. 36-37), the Babylonian destruction of the city (2 Chr. 36), and Nehemiah’s rebuilding of the city (Neh. 6).

We walked past David’s palace (2 Samuel 5), through the “Area G” excavations, and descending down through Warren’s Shaft (the original theory was that this was the “water shaft” up through which Joab and the rest of David’s men conquered Jebus). Arriving at the Gihon Spring (where Solomon was brought into kingship, 1 Kings 1), most walked through Hezekiah’s Tunnel (1,720 feet long) while some walked through the “dry” Canaanite tunnel. Both groups converged at the Pool of Siloam where we read from John 9 in dramatic fashion.

Drainage Channel / Jewish Quarter

Drainage channel

The Herodian drainage channel

While the bus drove some in the group up to the Southern Wall excavations, others walked up through the Herodian drainage channel back to the SW corner of the Temple. We literally walked under the Herodian stone pavement all the way back up to the SW corner of the Temple!

Southern Wall Excavations

Temple Stones

Temple stones at the SW corner

Gathering below Robinsons Arch, our focus here was to retrace the steps of Jesus here and understand more about the Temple in His day. This Temple Mount expansion project of Herod began in 20 BC, and seeing how massive these stones were was incredible. Even Jesus’ disciples made a similar comment (Mark 13:1-2). Here we saw not only massive stones, but we walked on the same Herodian pavement as Jesus did! Here at the SW corner of the Temple may have been the same location of Jesus’ temptation (some suggest the SE corner). On the southern end of the Temple we walked up the very same steps Jesus did. Sitting on the steps we recalled the stories from the NT of those who used the same steps (Mark 12, Luke 2,18; John 10; Acts 2,3,5).

Holy Sepulcher Church / Via Dolorosa / Pools of Bethesda / St. Anne’s Church

Edicule

The “Edicule” at the Holy Sepulcher Church

After eating in the Jewish Quarter and an extended lunch break, we walked to the Holy Sepulcher Church. This was a church built in 325 by Helena, the mother of Constantine. We explored the church on our own before walking through the Old City. We followed the Via Dolorosa (“way of there cross” even tough the most likely route Jesus took to Golgatha was from Herod’s palace right inside Jaffa Gate today).

This took us to the Pools of Bethesda (John 5, healing of the paralyzed man) and St. Anne’s Church. This Crusader church has an amazing 8 second echo. We sounded like an angelic choir here as we sang a few songs.

From here we returned to the hotel. We enjoyed our farewell dinner together. Those leaving tonight were then escorted to the airport. The rest of the group was taken to the Western Wall Tunnels where we walked the entire length of this retaining wall. We saw the Master Course (a stone that weighs 100s of tons) as well as other large stones carefully placed. We returned to the hotel and retired for the night.

DAY 9 – MONDAY, JUNE 18: ARRIVAL BACK IN THE STATES (for 25).

Those flying back will arrive back home after their night flight.

Or

DAY 9 – MONDAY, JUNE 18: OLD CITY, TEMPLE MOUNT, HERODIAN MANSION, MOSHE/SHORASHIM, ISRAEL MUSEUM, YAD VASHEM (for 57)

 

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June 2018 Israel-Jordan Tour Update – Day 7

DAY 7 – SATURDAY, JUNE 16: JERUSALEM, MT. OF OLIVES, BETHLEHEM, HERODIUM, GARDEN TOMB

Today was our first full day in Jerusalem. We were greeted by sunny skies and high temps this afternoon around 90.

Mt. of Olives 

Mt. of Olives

Standing on the Mt. of Olives in Jerusalem

Leaving the hotel shortly after 7:30 again, we drove around the northern side of the Old City in order to make our way east to the Mt. of Olives. Our first full view of the Temple Mount and Old City from the top was spectacular!  From here we could also see the City of David (to the south), the Hurva synagogue (in the heart of the Jewish Quarter), the Holy Sepulcher Church (in the heart of the Christian Quarter), and the Eastern Gate (Ezekiel 44). Of course in the center of the Temple Mount is the Dome of the Rock (built in 691 AD). This was built on the same site as the First Temple (built by Solomon in 967 BC, Chr. 3) and the Second Temple (built by Herod the Great beginning in 20 BC).

Dominus Flavet

Dome of the Rock

Dome of the Rock / Temple Mount in Jerusalem

Walking down the slope of the Mt. of Olives we stopped at a small chapel called Dominus Flavet. This gave us a closer view of the Temple Mount. Here we read from Luke 19 (Jesus’ Palm Sunday event) and Zechariah 14 (Jesus’ second coming).

Garden of Gethsemane

Gethsemane

Garden of Gethsemane

Further down the slope we stopped for a time of reflection in the area of the Garden of Gethsemane. We paused to read Luke 22 and John 17 as we considered the prayer of Jesus, “Not my will but yours be done…” To consider the passion of Jesus here was special!

Herodium

Herodium

Herodium

Driving southeast from the Old City, we arrived at an archaeological site called Herodium. It was here where Herod the Great was buried. Climbing the “bowl” (artificial mound) we had a great view of the Dead Sea to the east, Tekoa to the south, Jerusalem to the north and Bethlehem to the west. We left the site by climbing down through the cistern system. We also saw where Herod’s grave was located.

Shepherds’ Fields / Bethlehem

Bethlehem

Looking towards Bethlehem from Herodium

After eating lunch in Beit Sahour (east of Bethlehem), we visited the Shepherds’ Fields. From inside a cave, we read from Luke 2 about the birth of Jesus. He was first announced by angels and greeted by shepherds. Jesus came to be the passover lamb. Jesus came “just at the right time” (Gal. 4:4) to be the Savior of the world! We also enjoyed singing Christmas carols both in the cave and in the Shepherds’ chapel. 

Garden Tomb

Garden Tomb

Garden Tomb

Our last stop of the day was back on the north side of the Old City. Here we visited the Garden Tomb. This site developed as an alternative location for the Holy Sepulcher Church as the place for Jesus’ death and burial/resurrection. After touring the grounds and seeing the suggested tomb, we enjoyed a brief time of worship and Communion.

Following the service, some went to the Jerusalem Prayer Center close by while others bussed back to the hotel. Following dinner, an optional walking excursion to Ben Yehuda was offered. Many in the group enjoyed the shopping and ice cream! It was a great day here in Jerusalem!

DAY 8 – SUNDAY, JUNE 17: WESTERN WALL TUNNEL, SOUTHERN STEPS, CITY OF DAVID, HEZEKIAH’S TUNNEL, SILOAM POOL, DRAINAGE CHANNEL, HOLY SEPULCHER CHURCH, POOLS OF BETHESDA

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June 2018 Israel-Jordan Tour Update – Day 6

DAY 6 – FRIDAY, JUNE 15: KINNERET CEMETERY, BETH SHEAN, JERICHO, DEAD SEA, JUDEAN WILDERNESS, JERUSALEM

We checked out of our hotel this morning and left the Galilee area. The day would be sunny and hot, with highs in the low 100s.

Kinneret Cemetery

Rachel the poet

Rachel’s grave – Kinneret Cemetery

Driving towards the southern end of the lake again, we made our first stop at the Kinneret Cemetery. This was a cemetery used by early Jewish pioneers to the land. We stood around the grave of a certain Rachel (Bluwstein). She immigrated from Ukraine to Israel in 1909 and died in 1931. She is known for her poetry. She even appears on the new 20 shekel bill.

Beth Shean

Beth Shean

Beth Shean

Continuing south in the Jordan Valley, Beth Shean was our next stop. It was a massive Roman city. In the days of the Old Testament, it was first a Canaanite city (even controlled by Egyptians at times). After Saul died on Mt. Gilboa close by, his body was then hung on the walls of the OT city (1 Samuel 31). Some in the group climbed to the top of this OT tel for a great view of the Roman city below. In the Roman city we saw bathhouses, the agora, many mosaics, the colonnaded street, public latrenes, and the impressive theater. Leaving the site, we ate lunch nearby.

Sachne

Sachne

Swimming at Sachne

About 10 minutes from BethShean is Sachne. It is yet another national park and it was a fun extra experience! This is a spring-fed natural swimming hole. Many in the group enjoyed swimming here. The water was clean and refreshing!

Jericho

Tel Jericho

Tel es-Sultan – Jericho

Continuing to the southern end of the Jordan Valley, Jericho was our next stop. Climbing this ancient site (the oldest city in Israel), we first looked east across the Jordan River. We recalled that Moses died on Mt. Nebo (Dt. 34). Joshua also cross the river on dry ground. Elijah and Elisha had part of his ministry in this region as well. It was also in the Jordan River where Jesus was baptized (“Bethany Beyond the Jordan, John 1). Looking west we could see the high cliffs of the Judean Desert where Jesus was tempted. Archaeologically, we saw the oldest standing tower in Israel as well as the two retaining or resentment stone walls upon which was also a mud-brick wall. It was the mud-brick wall that came tumblin’ down just as Joshua 6 says! We rejoiced in the historicity of the Bible!

Dead Sea

Dead Sea

Floating in the Dead Sea

At the northern end of the Dead Sea is where we enjoyed floating!  The Dead Sea is about 33% salt and minerals, causing us to float effortlessly. Though it was very hot here (low 100s), this was a very unique experience! Almost everyone got in. Some even plastered themselves with Dead Sea mud!

Judean Desert / Wadi Qelt

Wadi Qelt

The Wadi Qelt (Judean Desert)

From here we began our ascent (4,000 feet) to Jerusalem. On the way, we made one last brief stop oat a place where we overlooked the Wadi Qelt. We heard the words of Isaiah 40 (“a voice of one calling:“In the desert prepare the way for the Lordmake straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hill made low; the rough ground shall become level, the rugged places a plain….”). This is the most-likely setting/backdrop for Isaiah the prophet to share these words of hope and promise.

Jerusalem

Western Wall Jerusalem

Western Wall at night

Completing our ascension to the Hill Country of Judah, we arrived at our hotel in Jerusalem. After checking in, we enjoyed dinner together followed by an optional walk to the Western Wall. It was amazing to see the Wall at night!  We are looking forward to spending the next few days here in Israel’s capital city!

DAY 7 – SATURDAY, JUNE 16: JERUSALEM, BETHLEHEM, HERODIUM

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June 2018 Israel-Jordan Tour Update – Day 5

DAY 5 – THURSDAY, JUNE 14: ARBEL, MAGDALA, CHORAZIM, CAPERNAUM, SEA OF GALILEE BOAT RIDE, YARDENIT, MT. OF BEATITUDES

Today was a day for primarily focusing on the life and ministry of Jesus. We spent the entire day around and even on the Sea of Galilee. It was also a day that was back to a normal June weather day here in Israel, with full sun and highs in the 90s.

Arbel

Arbel and Sea of Galilee

Arbel and Sea of Galilee

Our first experience was Mt. Arbel. About 35 climbed to the top (800+ foot ascent), while others bussed around and approached the top from the other side. Among the hikers was an 84 year old named John. Incredible effort!  On top we could see much of the NW corner of the lake below. Jesus must have experienced the top of Arbel as well.

Yardenit / Jordan River

Baptism Jordan

Baptism at Yardenit

Driving to the southern end of the Sea of Galilee, our next stop was Yardenit. 42 in the group entered the waters of the Jordan River. 40 reaffirmed their faith and commitment as followers (talmidim) of Jesus, while two in the group proclaimed their faith in Christ for the first time. It was a special time for all!

Magdala

Magdala

Magdala 1st century synagogue

We returned to the NW corner of the lake and visited Magdala. This recent excavation revealed a 1st century synagogue. Jesus must have taught here, even though it is not mentioned in the Gospels. The synagogue is quite small and modest, holding only about 50-60 people. The city was destroyed in 66-67 AD by the Romans.

Chorazim

After a great “fish lunch,” we drove to Chorazin. This was one of the three cities condemned by Jesus for their unbelief in Yeshua/Jesus. The ruins are from the 3rd century AD. While in the synagogue here, we read from Matthew 23, which references the Moses’ Seat. 

Capernaum 

Synagogue Capernaum

Capernaum synagogue

Down on the water’s edge is Capernaum. While the ruins are not overly impressive, the 5th century AD synagogue is! Below this one is the 1st century one Jesus taught in. Sitting on the synagogue’s stone benches, we read from Mark 1,2 and 9; Luke 7 and 8; and John 6. Jesus performed many miracles here. He also taught here with authority (s’mekah). Here, we also saw the octagonal 5th century AD church. Some went down to the shoreline of there lake. This was where Jesus called His first disciples.

Ancient Boat / Sea of Galilee Boat Ride

We returned to Nof Ginnosar where we saw a 1st century wooden boat. It was extracted out of the mud of the lake in 1986. Sailing in our own boat, we enjoyed a time of worship and reflection. We read the two storm narratives (Matthew 8 & 14) and considered Jesus our ultimate source of peace!

Mt. of Beatitudes 

Beatitudes

The Mt. of Beatitudes

Our last stop of the day was to the Mt. of Beatitudes. Also located on the NW corner of the lake, we walked partially down the slope where we sat on some rocks. We listened to the reading of Matthew 5, first in Hebrew, and then in English. We were invited to seek first (Mt. 6:33) and live out these kingdom principles and to be the salt and light of the world.

We return to our hotel at 7 pm for dinner and a free evening.God blessed us with a great day again!

DAY 6 – FRIDAY, JUNE 15: KINNERET CEMETERY, BETH SHEAN, JERICHO, DEAD SEA, JUDEAN WILDERNESS, JERUSALEM

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June 2018 Israel-Jordan Tour Update – Day 4

DAY 4 – WEDNESDAY, JUNE 13: GAMLA, QATZRIN, MT. HERMON SKI LIFT, NIMROD, CAESAREA PHILIPPI, DAN Today we traveled up to the Golan Heights. It would be a partly sunny day, with perfect temps around 80. We even had a late afternoon shower at our last site, once again very unique for June in Israel. We also celebrated the arrival of our 14 delayed friends. They arrived at our hotel at 11:15 last night! El Araj/Bethsaida Leaving shortly after 7:30, we drove to the northern end of the Sea of Galilee (13 miles long). Taking a dirt road through fields, we visited the new archaeological site of El Araj. It is suggested that this was Bethsaida, the home of Peter, … Continue reading