20 February, 2013


Finally our first field study outside of Jerusalem! We explored the allotment of land that was given to the tribe of Benjamin.

We started out at Emmaus Nicopolis and overlooked the Aijalon Valley. You see Emmaus in Luke 24. but this probably isn't the same one (there are 4 different possible locations!) because it is too far from Jerusalem. But, it was a cool stop nonetheless :)

There were pretty lil flowers all around us. Israel is so beautiful in the spring.

Then we walked up steep mountain onto the Beth Horon Ridge Route. This route is mentioned often in the Old Testament, but the most famous account is probs the whole dealio with Joshua vs. the Amorites found in Joshua 10. It is also where time stopped..the moon stood still over the Aijalon Valley. During this, the Israelites were battling against the Amorites, and the Lord promised Joshua to give the enemies into his hands. Even though the odds were against him (in the world's eyes), Joshua faithfully followed the Lord and pursued the Amorites down the Beth Horon Ridge Route. God sent large hail stones from heaven, and these stones killed off the Amorites one by one. More men died from the hail stones than from Israelite swords. This is a great example of God taking such interest in human affairs and supernaturally intervening. That's my God. Cool.

Some videos for your enjoyment :)

Re-enacting the hailstones falling on the Amorites hahahaha

This is when we started to see flocks of sheep pretty frequently. This is a modern day shepherd :) hehe. Bill went to say hello.

View from on top of Nebi Samwil (meaning the prophet Samuel). It is possibly the "High Place of Gibeon" where Solomon asked God for wisdom.

To get a better idea, check out this awesome panoramic photo Chris Cummings took. He and Briana Cowan are the other photographers of the group and they take some of the most wondeful pictures. Check out their stuff too!

Next stop was Gibeah (known as Gibeah of Saul, Israel's first king, since he was born here). This place leaves a horrid taste in your mouth after reading the account found in Judges 19. It so clearly shows the kind of stuff that happens when you stop following God. It makes Romans 3:10 (no one is good) ring all the more true. Apart from God, we suck. dunno how to say it any other way!

At Gibeah using our Satellite Bible Atlas. theeee most helpful map book ever!!!

Now on our way to "The Pass." That is the name given to it in biblical times.. it is a handy lil route that connects Michmash to Geba. Super helpful to the people in antiquity because it's really the only way to cross over the Wadi Suwenit (wadi=valley in Arabic).

Behind us you can see the deep valley

and so I took a selfie with The Pass in the background.. :) haha

We found animal bones!!!! Like a baby pelvis or something hahaha. Again, you can see The Pass behind us.

Next stop... Jerichoooooooo! This was a place I was pretty familiar with prior to IBEX (thanks Christian high school project haha), so it was kind of the craziest thing to stand on the ground that I studied so many years earlier. I mean, I knew the Bible was true and stuff..but when you actually see the places with your eyes and associate an experience with it...ahh. Scripture really comes to life. Anyways, this is on top of a hill overlooking Jericho.

The ancient Tel Jericho.. aka the ruins of ancient Jericho. This is exact place that Joshua conquered as recorded in Joshua 6. He and his men marched around the city seven times, and on that seventh time, they blew their trumpets and shouted..and the walls of Jericho came tumblinnnn down!

 Sarah stood on the ground of the Tel as Bill directed her what to do haha

On the right is the spring of Jericho.. very crucial to this city's prosperity!

Another view of the spring. It's made famous in 2 Kings 2 where Elisha performed a miracle and purified the water. Now it no longer causes death or miscarriage :) diarrhea though...probably

hahahah so I took a sip anyways. just so I could say I have drank from the spring of Jericho

Then me and my lovely Sarah Snyder did a really tourist-y thing (we had to!!!!) and road a camel. It's really surprising when it first gets up, as you can see below. hahaha :)

Look ma no hands!!

Jen and Bri also had a turn :) followed by Ashley and Jessy

Israeli cokes! made with real sugar

This is a sycamore tree, like the one Zacchaeus climbed up in Luke 19

Then Taylor and Sarah got married thanks to an Palestinian man hahah

We made our way to the Judean Wilderness.. the big barren desert of Israel

but like I said... Israel is beautiful in the spring. The mountains that have grown grass (thanks to the precious Israeli rain) have also sprouted thousands of little purple flowers. We were SO lucky to even see the flowers though.. they are only here for a few weeks each year.

The expanse took my breath away. I sat down and overlooked the mountains for awhile. It's so amazing to your eyes, I'm telling you.

So, the significance of the Judean Wilderness includes a few things. John the Baptist preached here (Matt 3, Luke 1&3). There is a famous route called the Ascent of Adumim which connects Jerusalem to Jericho.. it crosses right through this crazy desert. The Ascent of Adumim is where Luke 10 took place.. the account of the Good Samaritan. And finally, this is THE route that Jesus took to go to the cross to die for the nastiness this world created. Agh. Speechless.

Now that I saw the mountains of the wilderness, the geographical imagery used in Isaiah 40:1-8 is so much more real.
"Comfort, comfort my people, says your God.
Speak tenderly to Jerusalem,
    and cry to her
that her warfare is ended,
    that her iniquity is pardoned,
that she has received from the Lord's hand
    double for all her sins.
A voice cries:
“In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord;
    make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
Every valley shall be lifted up,
    and every mountain and hill be made low;
the uneven ground shall become level,
    and the rough places a plain.
And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed,
    and all flesh shall see it together,
    for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”
A voice says, “Cry!”
    And I said, “What shall I cry?”
All flesh is grass,
    and all its beauty is like the flower of the field.
The grass withers, the flower fades
    when the breath of the Lord blows on it;
    surely the people are grass.
The grass withers, the flower fades,
    but the word of our God will stand forever."

Then as I was sitting.. I saw four brave men make their way down one of the mountains hahahah. Can you see them??

Taylor, Bryant, Jaden, and Justin. At the edge of the mountain haha

Alright last picture of the wilderness. Another panoramic from Chris.. SO incredible! Thanks for letting me put these up on my blog!

My cute roomie :)

Then we saw some donkeys!

The end :)