PESM to Israel 2022-Boats, Gates, Walls and Springs
Hello Friends and Family,
We had a fantastically full day today touring the Northern part of Israel above the Sea of Galilee. But to start our day, we got to take a boat ride on the lake. The weather was fantastic and our group woke up feeling refreshed and excited about exploring the land where Jesus walked.
(early morning on the Sea of Galilee)
(our amazing buffet breakfasts)
During our time on the boat we enjoyed singing worship songs, exploring and getting oriented to the towns and geographical features around the lake. We had a fantastic devotional from Pastor Mary Romey from The Grove Church about being surprised by Jesus in this special place. Then, our boat captain led us in song Israeli folk dancing, on the boat, on the Sea of Galilee. It was a ton of fun!
(a beautiful morning on the Sea of Galilee: this photo and all following courtesy of Jeremiah Duncan)
(Captain Jeremiah: Courtesy of Ryan Thorson)
(Fellow Pilgrims from Left to Right: Aaron, Ryan, Megan, Dave and Matt)
(Pastor Mary preaching the word of the Sea of Galil
From our boat ride we headed North to the Upper Galilee. We stopped first at the fortified city of Hazor, a city dating back to Canaanite times that later became one of the main cities of Solomon in Northern Israel. The archaelogical finds and excavations there was a phenomenal introduction to the rich and long history of this land.
(the ruins of Hazor)
(canaanite altar for sacrifices)
(field where lower city of Hazor is, as well as active dig site ready for this summer)
(ruins of Hazor)
(beautiful tree at Tel Hazor)
After Hazor we had our first taste of Israeli lunch cuisine, Schwarmas and Falafel. Delicious!
After lunch we went to the far north of Israel to Tel Dan, another ancient city dating back to the Old Testament. We saw beautiful springs of rushing water, walked the forests and paths and discovered a altar that Jeroboam set up in the 10th century bc as well as the oldest standing mud brick gate in the world. We finished Dan with an ancient marketplace and judgment seat.
(Our wonderful guide, Dr. Sheila, teaching us at the altar of Dan)
(at the Spring of Dan, one of three contributors to the Jordan River)
(Canaanite Mudbrick Gate, the oldest in the world)
(The marketplace and gate at Tel Dan)
(Greg exploring the marketplace)
From Dan we headed over to Banias, or Caesarea Philippi. This is the region where Peter makes his confession of Jesus as the Christ (Matthew 16:13-20) amidst Roman and pagan temples and places of worship. It was again a beautiful park full with rushing water and families enjoying the holiday here together.
(The spring at Caesarea Philippi, with cave and ruins of Roman temples inthe background)
(Ruins of Roman Temples at Caesarea Philippi)
Finally we ascended to the base of Mt. Hermon (which was clouded in so no pics) and saw the current border of Israel with Syria and Lebanon. Here our bus driver, Roni, told us about his time in the Israeli military and his experience as a soldier in a tank during the Yom Kippur war in 1973. We were grateful to hear his story.
(View of Lebanon from Tel Dan)
(View of Syrian border from Golan Heights)
We drove down the Golan Heights and back to our hotel at the south end of the Sea of Galilee, tired but full of joy for the incredible day we had together. Our travelers are already seeing the Bible with a new lens and some of our favorites stories that we've taught or preached on for years are coming to life, shifting our perspectives and deepening our love and appreciation for all that God has done in this place!
Tomorrow we hike down the highest point around the Sea of Galilee, Mt. Arbel. Then we head to Nazareth, Sepphoris and Mount Carmel. Thanks for following along!