Day 7 – Sunday, June 19: Hippos, Hazor, Dan, Mt. Hermon, the Upper Galilee (“Hill 713”)
Today was another great weather day. It was sunny but not as hot, with highs in the 80s. We spent most of the day in the northern part of there country. We read from Matthew 4 as we left the hotel after breakfast at 7:35.
We drove around the north end of the Sea of Galilee (past Bethsaida, Mark 8, John 6) before heading south on the eastern side. After making a brief stop by the only cliff area on the east side, we continued to Hippos (Sussita), one of the Decapolis cities. Climbing the site, we saw many Roman ruins, including a number of Byzantine churches, wine presses, and many pillars. At the overlook of the lake below, we sang a few songs of worship and read from Mark 5 about the transformation of the demoniac.
Traveling north into the Hulah Valley, Hazor was our next visit. This was a large Canaanite city in the Middle Bronze Period, with perhaps 10,000+ living in this 200 acre city. We saw the Canaanite temple and palace, the Solomonic gate, and other Israelite ruins from the 9th and 8th century. The Israelite city of Hazor was destroyed in 734 BC.
Driving to the base of the Golan Heights, the nature preserve and archaeological site of Dan was a our destination. We walked along the Dan Spring into the area of the cultic center. Here we sat on the stone steps between the high place and the sacrificial altar of Jeroboam. We read from Judges 18 and 1 Kings 12. Leaving the site we saw the Middle Bronze mud brick gate and the gate and walls of the Israelite city.
“We saw a lot today! It was a fantastic day from morning to early evening when we pulled into our hotel for a late dinner. The last hike with the view of the Sea of Galilee was amazing. I’m tired, but thrilled with what we are seeing!”
In the early afternoon we drove past Caesarea Philippi (Matthew 16) to the highest place in all of Israel, Mt. Hermon (Psalm 42, 133). We took the gondola to the top of this ski resort. The view was spectacular! Eleven in the group hiked down the rather treacherous trail while others descended in the gondola. The air was crisp and a bit cooler here (70s).
Upper Galilee / “Hill 713”
On our way back to the Sea of Galilee area, we drove to the Upper Galilee where we hiked about 25 minutes to one of the very best views of the Israel. From “Hill 713” (as defined by Dr. John’s historical geography professor in Jerusalem years ago), we could see the entire width of the country, including the Golan Heights (to the east), the Sea of Galilee, the Lower Galilee, and the Carmel Range (to the west).
We returned to our hotel for a late dinner and free evening. It was an unique day here in the north!