DAY 7 – SATURDAY, JULY 18
Today we headed north to the Golan Heights on this sunny and cooler day (highs in upper 80s). Leaving our hotel on the NW corner of the lake, we headed to the NE corner and began to ascend our climb. First, we stopped overlooking the plains of Bethsaida. We read from Mark 8 and John 6 about the man from Bethsaida ho was healed of blindness, and the Feeding of the 5,000. From here we drove to Gamla, a Jewish city that revolted against the Romans in 66 AD. We drove down to the site, seeing the 1st century synagogue here. Even though not mentioned in the Gospels, Jesus most likely would have taught here. We read from Acts 5 about a certain “Judas the Galilean” who was from this city.
Next we drove to Katzrin, a Talmudic city. Here we sat in a re-constructed stone house, no doubt very similar to the type of house used in Jesus’ day. We read from Mark 2, a story we could see unfolding right before us.
Continuing to the east, we overlooked the border with Syria and the city of Kuneitra. Shlomo shared with us the modern history of the 1967 and 1973 wars with Syria.
Driving due north, we passed through a few “Druze” villages to the ski resort on Mt. Hermon (Psalm 42, 133). Believe it or not, Israel does have a mountain for skiing a few months each year. On the Israeli side, the mountain is 7,250 feet above sea level (the Syrian peak is 9,200). We took the ski lift to the top. The view was spectacular! About half the group hiked down the trail while the other half took the ski chair back down. The low 80s temp and nice breeze was refreshing.
After gabbing a quick bite to eat, we drove west while descending off the Golan Heights. We first visited Caesarea Philippi. Here, Jesus asked his disciples, “Who do you say I am?” (Mt. 16). It was 6 days later where Jesus was transfigured, perhaps somewhere on the slopes of Mt. Hermon.
Dan was our next stop. Here we walked through the nature preserve that led to the archaeological park. We read form Judges 18 and I Kings 18 about a pattern of disobedience seen here. It was here Jeroboam set up a “high place” of worship. We also saw the Middle Canaanite gate of Laish (Gen. 14:14) as well as the Israelite gate structure.
Our last stop was Misgav Am, a kibbutz located high on the Naphtali mountains overlooking the Huleh Valley and Mt. Hermon (in Israel) and the border with Lebanon. We heard the story of “Sheba” (2 Sam. 20) and about the modern conflict with Lebanon.
We drove back south to the Sea of Galilee through the Huleh Valley. Dinner at our hotel awaited us. We enjoyed a free evening. We are excited to be heading to Jerusalem tomorrow.
DAY 8 – SUNDAY, JULY 19: SEA OF GALILEE, NAZARETH, SEPPORIS, MEGIDDO, CAESAREA, MT> CARMEL, JERUSALEM