DAY 7 – SUNDAY- JUNE 23
We began the day by leaving once again at 7:30 and driving to Dan, one of the sources of the River Jordan. Even during this dry season we were amazed at the amount of water that flows. We walked through this quiet National Park and impressive Old Testament city. We read from I Kings 12 about Jeroboam and the false worship that took place here. From here we can look into Lebanon. Nearby is Caesarea Philippi where Jesus asked His disciples, “Who do you say I am?” (Mt. 16). We walked up to the grotto and temple of Augustus. Further east in the Golan Heights is the unique site of Nimrod Fortress one of the largest and most impressive that have survived since the Middle Ages. This castle was built in the 13th century AD by the Mamulukes, although it exchanged hands with the Crusaders. We enjoyed exploring a few of the towers, cistern and the “escape route.”
Following lunch in a Druze village, we travel to the eastern edge of the Golan to an old military base called Bental. Here we looked Quneitra , a town in southern Syria. We return back toward the Sea of Galilee to see a few more unique sites. The first site is Qatzrin, a partially reconstructed Talmudic village. We walked through a reconstructed house, no doubt similar to the type of house Jesus would have been familiar with in the 1st century. Lastly, we visit Gamla, the Masada of the north. Gamla was a Jewish city that was taken by the Romans during the Revolt in the 60’s AD. Here we saw a 1st century synagogue, one of only seven found in all of Israel. We also saw a few vultures. They live and nest only in this area of Israel.
We drove to our hotel on the eastern side of the Sea of Galilee. Even here we could see Syria as well as Jordan further to the southern end of the Golan. Before arriving at our kibbutz-hotel for our last swim in the Sea of Galilee and pool, we stopped at the Peace Vista for a panoramic view of the entire Sea of Galilee (13 miles long and 7 miles wide at it’s widest point). Dinner as well as a gathering on the shores of Galilee followed. It’s been a great two full days here in the Galilee. We are excited to be driving to Jerusalem tomorrow.