Day 4 – Wednesday, August 9: Gamla, Katzrin, Syrian Border, Mt. Hermon, Dan


Today was another sunny summer day, but with cooler day as we headed north in the Golan Heights. Following a wonderful breakfast (what a spread!),  we left the hotel at 7:20 and read Mathew 4 as we departed.



We drove around the northern end of the lake before turning south on the eastern side. We then ascended into the Golan Heights and to Gamla, our first site of the day. Gamla was a Jewish city that played a significant role in the First Revolt (66 AD). The Romans came here and defeated the city run 67 AD. Many in the group walked down (and then back up) the difficult trail to the excavations. Even Mary on “Rosie” made it down. What an incredible effort the Luke 5 folks displayed to make it happen. No doubt Mary is the very first disabled person who ever went down this trail! We entered the 1st century synagogue where we read from Matthew 9. Even though Gamla is not mentioned in the Gospels, there is a high probability that Jesus taught from this rectangular synagogue!



We drove north from Gamla on the eastern side of the lake before turning east to Katzrin. A Talmudic Village was here (from about the 3rd-8th centuries AD). We saw good examples of olive presses, the synagogue, and other house structures. We then gathered in a completely-restored stone house where we read from Mark 2. We could see the story unfolding before our eyes! Kevin shared briefly about the Luke 5 ministry.


Syrian Border

As we drover further north to the Syrian border, From here we could see over the border to a city inside Syria called Kuneitra. On the bus, Mickey still shared a brief word on the 1967 and 1973 wars that took place here, as well as the current situation in Syria. We enjoyed some apples, bananas, and snacks that David bought for us for lunch.


Mt. Hermon

Driving through a few Druze towns, we arrived at the base of Mt. Hermon at a distance. It is the highest peak in the region (Syria has a peak of 9,200, Israel 7,300, and Lebanon the lower northern slopes). We all went up the gondola to the top of the ski resort (about 6,800 feet). Ten in the group hiked down the difficult rocky path while the rest took the gondola back down. The view was excellent. Mt. Hermon is mentioned a few places in the Bible (Psalm 42, 84, 133; Son of Songs 4).

“Today was our second full day. We headed north to the Golan Heights. It was another day of learning many more biblical connections. The hikes were amazing (and challenging) as well, but well worth the effort. The northern region of Israel is beautiful!”
Rosie at Dan Aug 23 Israel Tour John DeLancey

Driving Past Caesarea Philippi/Banias

Descending down of the Golan Heights, we passed by the archaeological site of Caesarea Philippi. This was a very pagan city in the days of Jesus and through the Roman Period. The city enjoyed the waters of the Banias Spring, one of the three tributaries of the Jordan. We read from Matthew 16 where Jesus asked His disciples the “final exam” question, “Who do you say I am?” Among the ruins at the Grotto once stood the Temples of Augustus, Zeus/Jupiter, Nemesis, the Shrine of the Dancing Goats, and the niches dedicated to Pan, the promiscuous shepherding god of the Greeks and Romans. Six days later, Jesus was transfigured (perhaps somewhere on the slopes of Mt. Hermon, Matthew 17).


Dan Nature Preserve & Archaeological Site

Our last site to visit was the nature preserve and Tel Dan. The Dan Spring served this ancient city originally called Laish. We walked along the river to a quite place where we recalled Psalm 42 (“as the deer pants for water…”) before we walked to the archaeological ruins of the high place. We read from Judges 18 and 1 Kings 12 about the patterns of disobedience displayed here. Looking north, Mickey shared briefly about the border with Lebanon.Leaving the site of Dan we saw the a mud-brick Middle Bronze gate (seen by Abraham?) and the Iron Age/Israelite gate and where the famous Dan Inscription was found in July, 1993.

We returned back to our hotel for dinner and a free evening.


Day 5 – Thursday, August 10: Optional Sunrise Hike to “Hill 713,” Arbel, Yardenit-Jordan River Baptism, Magdala, Capernaum, Ancient Boat, Sea of Galilee Boat Ride

Gamla Aug 23 Israel Tour John DeLancey
Katzrin Aug 23 Israel Tour John DeLancey
Dan Aug 23 Israel Tour John DeLancey
Gamla Aug 23 Israel Tour John DeLancey
Syria Border Aug 23 Israel Tour John DeLancey
Dan Aug 23 Israel Tour John DeLancey

Pin It on Pinterest