Jerusalem

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We arrived in Jerusalem this afternoon. Coming into the city and seeing the sights of the picture above is an emotional moment for all. Seeing the Mosque sitting on the Temple Mount causes you to feel the deep impact of the words of Jesus in Matthew 23:37-39 “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gates her brood under her wings, and you would not! See, your house is left to you desolate. For I tell you, you will not see me again, until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.'” (ESV)

Dead Sea

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Yesterday, we traveled from the Sea of Galilee to the Dead Sea through the Jordan Valley. The terrain goes from lush and green to brown desert. Along the way, we hiked to the top of a tel(a man made mountain with layers of conquered or destroyed cities). The tel Bet She’an is the location where Saul’s body was hung after he was killed on nearby Mt. Gilboa. The hike to the top provided beautiful views of the Jezreel and Jordan valleys.

Our next stop was Engedi, a desert oasis where David hid from Saul for two years in the caves The hike up to the caves and the spring was beautiful and memorable.

Our day ended with a relaxing float on the Dead Sea. It was a great time laughing with friends as we floated in wonder with no effort at all.

Touring in the rain

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Touring in the rain… Rain is considered a blessing in Israel since it seldom rains. Northern Israel was blessed in a big way today. It even hailed for a few minutes.

Though the rain slowed us down, we kept going. We will not soon forget the reading of 1 Kings 18 the top of Mt. Carmel of Elijah and the defeat of the prophets of Baal, followed by the forming of the black cloud from the sea, then great rain. We witnessed great rain.

Many in the group got their first taste of falafel today. Think hushpuppy Mediterranean style. We were happy to be in a warm dry place to eat.

We concluded our day at the “brow of the hill” just outside of Nazareth. (picture above) Luke 4:16-30 records the account of Jesus reading from Isaiah in the synagogue in Nazareth, clearly proclaiming that He was the anointed One of God. As a result of what they hear, the people take him outside of town to kill Him. The text ends, “But passing through their midst, he went away.” (v. 30). Once you stand in this location you realize that Luke is recording some form of a miraculous event.

Tomorrow, we head to the Dead Sea to swim…float.

At the Sea of Galilee

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