Friday, June 4, 2010

Israel Day 5

Hi Ya'll! Lots of catching up to do. We've been running non stop! Buckle up cuz here we go!

Wednesday we pack up and leave the Kibbutz hotel and say good bye to the Sea of Galilee.

Just a reminder, these photos are all straight out of the camera. I've got the netbook and it's VERY hard to see images on the tiny screen.

Our first stop, the Jordan River. It was an emotional experience for many of us. Most of the people were baptized again to re-dedicate their lives to Christ. For some, though, this was their first baptism by immersion. Like my folks. Roger and Mark baptized them together as they later did for Dan and I. It was wonderful to see them be baptized together and I admit, I cried. I'm so blessed that my family is full of believers! Praise God!

After a quick rinse and change back into street clothes, we hit the road to our next destination: Giddeon Springs in the Valley of Jezreel. The park we visited is gorgeous and green, truly lovely!
After a brief stop we are off to our next destination: Bet She'an. We start the tour of this ancient Roman and Byzantine ruin with... ICE CREAM! YUM! Then visit the ruins bath house with gorgeous mosaic tiles, theatre and main road.

We were given 20 minutes to do whatever we wanted. What I wanted was to head to the top of the hill, which in Jesus' day would have encompassed the entire city of Bet She'an. So, Dan, Dan and I trotted off to take on the 178 stairs that led us to the top and an INCREDIBLE view of the valley. It didn't take us long to reach the top and the view was incredible, worth the energy expended.

It was a very hot day in the valley with 105 degrees but we didn't let that stop us! All the walking worked up an appetite and we stopped at Cafe Cafe for lunch.

Next up, passing through the Palestinian border and on to Jericho, but first a quick stop off at the traditional site of Jesus' temptation. This area is absolutely desolate and it makes Jesus' resistance to temptation all the more impressive.

Finally, onto the Tel of Jericho where I'll let our guest commentator, Dan write for a brief bit:

I took on the not so exciting part of the day: Jericho. Which is odd, considering that the rep for Jericho in the day, was the unconquerable city. Jericho, in it's current state, was not was I was expecting. If you remember, Jericho was the big kid on the block back in the day and had walls that were wicked hard to get around (and up until Joshua, no one came close). BUT...they were made from the same material as the land around it. Thus, the big crazy walls have sorta melded back into the land. Leaving not all that much to see. In fact, looking at the view below, you are looking at 75% of what I would call interesting for the site. Having just came from Israel's largest archaeological dig (and one of the best preserved sites you can imagine), Jericho was hard to get impressed about in the current state of the excavation. One last note...ancient cities are not that big in size of area. The whole town is smaller than your current neighborhood. ;-) Now...the cool stuff. Ancient cities that survived for any period of time generally had a couple of things going for them.. stuff like defense, water, etc. Jericho had a great water supply, In fact, coming in off the desert (I will no longer think of Phoenix as a desert), you hit a true oasis, a micro climate that is very, very lush. Additionally, we were able to see a grain silo that was used to store food. And that was it...back to Lisa.....


A Sycamore tree in Jericho: Zacchaeus, come down from that tree, Jesus is dining at your place tonight!

Finally we arrive at our destination for the day: Jerusalem. We stop and share a unique blessing/ tradition that is said for all Jews who enter into Jerusalem. It was a unique and special way to start the tour of this gorgeous city.