Greetings from the region of Galilee, as I post this blog it is 10:45pm Jan 2, 2009. I’m sitting in the lobby of our hotel we will be in for the next four nights, a man is playing the piano and I’m very tired.
I arrived in Jerusalem at 5pm on Jan. 1. This was after I enjoyed some food on the plane; most notable is the Kosher Chicken. This didn’t taste any different. At the Airport ee boarded a bus and head south to Beer Sheva. We stayed in a hotel in the Negev desert, which is where the children of Israel wandered for forty years. It was dark so we could see anything. We ate dinner and headed to bed at 10pm. Since I’m a night owl I awoke at 3am and was wide awake. I debated just getting up, but decided to go back to sleep feeling that I might need the rest. I was right. On our first day we cover several centuries in the span of three hours.
I got up and showered at 5:30am, fixed Israelite instant coffee and ate an orange. The sun rose at about 6:30, I walk to a water tower on the hotel campus. The view was stunning; I looked around 365 degrees and saw for the first time a true oasis. The compound where we were staying was surrounded by desert, absolutely nothing. This settlement southeast of Beersheva was the first one of the nation of Israel in 1948. This is when they became a state.
We left at 8 and headed to Tel Arad. Here we saw a Canaanite city. There was also a Biblical Arad, which dates to the 11th Century BC. There was a small Temple here to the God of Israel. Solomon centralized worship in the 10th century BC. I stepped into the Holy of Holies where only the priest worshipped God that close so long ago before the real Temple was built in Jerusalem. WOW! Now, because of Jesus we can all have a face to face encounter with Him, daily.
We left Tel Arad headed to Masada. The route we took was most likely the route that the wise men took after visiting Jesus (Matthew 2:12). See, told you we jumped centuries real quick.
Masada was a huge place in the early church history. Here Jews settled after the Temple was destroyed in 70AD and the Romans set up a siege. This was a huge mountain in the middle of the desert. The Jews ended up committing suicide so that they would not have to be slaves to the Romans. I’ll write more about the importance of this when I get back. We took a chair lift to get up but about ten of us walked the 450 meters back down. WOW! That was my work out for the day.
From there we went to Qumran, which is where they found the Dead Sea Scrolls. We saw cave 11 where they found a complete scroll of Isaiah. It is this scroll that helps solidify the Hebrew Bible, since it was written before the Canonization of the Old Testament. God preserved His word for about 2,000 years and now we have evidence of what we thought for many years.
Last we went to the Dead Sea. As a tourist this was the highlight of my day. I was the only one out of our group of 48 people that took a swim in the Dead Sea. Well, actually I floated because you can not sink in the Dead Sea. There is so much salt. I also took a mud bath, which is what people come from around the world to do. The mud under the water acts as a lotion, really healthy for your skin. My left arm feels so smooth right now. One of the girls shot a video which I will post later, so check back. This was an amazing experience because I’m sure there are many people throughout the history of this region that have done the same thing.
From here we made a 2 hour bus ride to the north where I now sit on the shore of the Sea of Galilee. We had a jam packed day and I’m sure tomorrow will bring more of the same.
I’ll try to post another update tomorrow.