Hello Friends and Family!
We have enjoyed our second day in the Samaritan hills. Today we were able to get a wonderful grasp and understanding of the geography of Samaria, its importance during the time of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph and Joshua, as well as see in 3D the scene of Jesus and the Samaritan Women at Jacob's Well.
Today was a lighter day of touring (only 5 miles of walking lol) as we prepare to head up to Jerusalem tomorrow.
We began our day visiting Mt. Gerizim, the mount where Joshua renewed the covenant with God and the Israelites. From Mt. Gerizim, we could look down on the valley where so many patriarch and matriarch biblical stories took place; Abraham and Sarah at the Oak of Mamre, Isaac and the altar he sets up on Mt. Ebal, Jacob building his will, the burial place of Joseph at Shechem. It was so incredible to see so much ancient history in one breathtaking view.
(view of valley below Mt. Gerizim where Joseph is buried, Abraham pitched his tent, and Jesus met with the Samaritan woman)
We went to the top of Mt. Gerizim, where there are still Samaritans who worship on this mountain and celebrate the Passover like there ancestors have for so many years. We gained a deeper appreciation for the Samaritan history, the tension during Jesus' time between the two groups and the passion of Jesus to see the Samaritans reached with the Gospel.
(view on top of Mt. Gerizim)
(looking down over the valley of biblical history)
(city square where Samaritan community currently holds their Passover festival. the round metal coverings are where the fire pits are for cooking the slaughtered lambs)
After Mt. Gerizim we went to lunch at a Samaritan restaurant called, you guessed it, "The Good Samaritan Cafe and Restaurant". They brought us an amazing lunch of falafel and pita bread, locally made hummus and all kinds of vegetables and other sauces, followed by turkish coffee and dessert. It was one of our favorite meals in Israel so far.
(Jeremiah Duncan and Russ Roberts)
After lunch we headed south to the site of Shiloh, where Joshua set up the tabernacle, divided the land of Israel and the tabernacle stood for over 350 years. This is where Hannah prays to God for a son and God gives her Samuel. Again, a fascinating site with so many layers of history.
(our fearless guide teaching us while we sit in the shade at Shiloh)
(beautiful palm tree in the Samaritan mountains)
(Baby Swank and Daddy Russ)
After this site we stopped by a local Israeli shopping center for some fun shopping. Some people walked around and checked out the clothing stores, bookstores and grocery store while others tried drinks at "Greg's Cafe" a local Israeli cafe chain.
Tonight our team met together to debrief and reflect on our first full week of our trip in Israel. This night is really a transition point in the trip, because we head up to Jerusalem tomorrow. It was encouraging to hear how God is bringing the Scriptures to life this week for so many of us and how He is speaking to us as well, in each of our individual lives and hearts. We've also had fun laughing together and experiencing this together as a group.
(Our group debrief time this evening)
Thanks for reading!