20 August, 2013

Galilee, Part 2

Day 3 of our Galilee trip was a game changer for me. By God's grace, I had felt great all of IBEX (well, except for the flu in the middle there haha)! When I woke up that morning, I felt sick (those close to me will know what I mean when I say that), and this sickness continued through the rest of the semester. As a result, my photo taking really diminished, so I can't really say that the rest of Galilee was fully documented and that makes me so sad!!!.. but for what I did get, enjoy!

So, the day started off with a visit to Sephorris. This site is not mentioned in the Bible but had great significance in the days of Jesus—it was the main city of the Galilee region, where Christ spent most of His ministry. 

Oh and it was Leah's birthday so we sang to her as she stood in the middle of the amphitheater :)

Tons of great mosaics here! This one dated back to the 2nd century AD and was on the floor of a room where the eating of a meal would have taken place.

The "Mona Lisa of Galilee" heh

We headed to Cana, the location of Jesus’s first miracle—turning water into wine. Howevs, it's pretty unlikely that this is the correct Cana. We hiked to the most probable location of ancient Cana a few days later. But here we drank wine and I guess tradition says that if you consume this wine, you will be married within two years. Alright begin the count down!! :D

Aaaaaand then we all had McDonald's for lunch haha. I've said this in a previous post, but really, sometimes you just gotta have some American food.

So we finally made it to the vicinity of the Sea of Galilee, and the weather was pretty nasty hah. Gloomy and humid and windy and hazy all at the same time. Blegh.

Climbing up to Mt. Arbel, which could be the mountain where Jesus gave the Great Commission. But it is the confirmed location where Leah fell off the rock she was sitting on (I love you Leah! but that was so funny)

Climbing down the mountain

We found a turtle, and this marks one of the funniest moments in the whole semester. Someone had picked up the turtle and I'm assuming it was so scared that anything and everything in its body came out. The amount of poop/pee that exited from this lil guy was enough to fill a coffee mug I'm sure. Bill witnessed this and bent over like a child and exclaimed, "WHOA that was MAJOR!" and I really can't tell you why it was so funny and for some stupid reason it seemed like me, Andrew, and Chris were the only ones who were dying about it. And for the rest of the semester, we absolutely could not stop saying it to one another. I'm laughing out loud just typing this.

We continued to roam around the mountain!

See the caves in the mountain in the two photos below? Those were trying to escape from Herod the Great hid in these caves, but Herod sent soldiers lowered in baskets to smoke out or pull out the hiding men.

 Then we found some friends :)

Becky attempted to drown Leah as a birthday present (kidding, kind of) so Bryant was kind enough to switch shirts with her :) haha

Walking back

Today was a great day for coming across animals. And let me tell you, few things were more comforting than when we came across a dog. 

Then my eyes beheld for the first time the Jordan River where Jesus was baptized!

Aaaand I mean, you gotta make fun of this sign right?

Ooo and last thing, this sign is for real. There are many mines around the northern region of Israel from when Israel was at war with Syria. So, never ever cross these fences or stray from the designated path when you're in the Galilee region! And just beyond this sign is the Sea of Galilee, but the weather was so bad that you can barely see it. Better views will come :)

We actually made two additional stops to Magdala, hometown of Mary Magdalene, and Kursi, where Jesus may have healed the demoniac and cast the evil spirits into the swine which then ran into the Sea of Galilee. But I was feeling pretty terrible so my camera stayed on the bus (for the first time during the whole semester!!!).

Day 4

This morning we woke up at the Ein Gev resort. Without a doubt, this was the nicest place we have stayed all semester, and my bed was suuuuper comfy so basically I was ecstatic :D and when I woke up, this was my view! Sea of Galilee right out my window!! And for the most part, the nasty hazy weather from yesterday disappeared yayy :) a few rain clouds did join us a lil later though

Our plan for the day began with a visit to Capernaum. It's called the "town of Jesus" because He moved here from Nazareth and spent most of His ministry at this location. It's here that Jesus says He has the power to heal and to forgive sin.. pretty bold claim huh? Here, Christ preached with authority and healed a man in the synagogue. 

Statue of the apostle Peter

We visited Korazim after this, but again I didn't get any photos of this location. Again, I left my camera on the bus cause I was feelin pretty lousy and just sat the entire time we were at this tel, so I didn't even explore it heh. Sad! But what I can tell you about it is that Korazim was one of the three cities (along with Bethsaida and Capernaum) Jesus openly rebuked for the many works he did there and yet they still did not believe.

Our next stop was the Mt. of Beatitudes, the most probable location of Jesus's Sermon on the Mount. Honestly, I was most excited for this besides the Sea itself. In my first year of college, I memorized the entire Sermon on the Mount, and seriously, it revolutionized my life. It makes me smack myself over the head for not memorizing more giant sections of Scripture. Matthew 5-7 became so precious to my heart as each verse was often recalled to memory. I had the privilege of wandering around the mountain. Jesus used the tangible objects in the area as teaching lessons, like in Matthew 6:25 which speaks of the birds of the field being fed, and in verse 28 which talks about the lilies of the field. 
Being here made the Sermon so much more real to me, which didn't feel possible since I've kept it fresh in my heart. Israel is the best, straight up.

We walked through the wheat fields, which reminded me of the parable of the wheat and tares in Matthew 13. And that body of water across the fields is in fact the Sea of Galilee!

Aaaand we began walking down to the Sea and I touched the water for the first time. The same body of water my Savior touched.

We made it to Tiberias and had seriously delicious smoothies. yum yum yum

We were released for lunch so Sarah and I wandered around for a lil

Eventually making it to Ginnosaur, we saw a first century sailboat that was found in the mud here by the kibbutz. 2000 year old boat, no big deal right?

From here, we took a boat ride to Capernaum. It was fantastic to be on the Sea!!!! This is the place where Jesus calmed the storm, walked on water, and caused a miraculous catch of fish.

Elizabeth and I got to drive oooohh yeaaah

Demonstrating a cast net

And then finally we had some free time. I left dinner early to get some photos and catch the sunset over the Sea. I sat by the shore and read through Mark and was unbelievably blown away to have my toes touch the water that the Bible talks so much about. The Old Testament refers to the Sea of Galilee as "Chinnereth" and the New Testament as the Sea of Galilee, the Sea of Tiberias, and the Sea of Gennesaret. It provides one-third of Israel's modern fresh water needs. And actually, this body of water sits 700 feet below sea level.

Our lil beach set-up!

And at last, the sunset over the Sea of Galilee.

Day 5

Today was a new experience altogether, not just because we visited new places, but because we had a new leader!! Benj was in charge of us for the next three days. He took us to the tel of Hazor, the largest tel in Israel with an area of 200 acres(!!!) sitting right at the mouth of the Hulah Valley. This was a heavily occupied area because there are 21 destruction levels. In Joshua 11, three cities are mentioned that were burned to the ground--Hazor was one of them. 

In case it ever crossed your mind, the machine that took us everywhere was this mega caterpillar of a bus!!! And whenever Moshe was our bus driver, it was guaranteed to be a good time.

View from the bus

We drove further north to the place known as the “finger of Galilee.” In this area, Israel is surrounded by Lebanon on three sides.

Tel Dan was our next stop. The area that this tribe occupied defined the northern border of Israel. We hiked through some fun forestland and arrived at the ruins. The tribe of Dan was pretty naughty.. they set up a cult here (Judges 18:30), worshipped idols (more specifically, Jeroboam’s golden calves, 1 Kings 12:25). 

Where the altar was

A huge gate was found here--an arch made out of mud brick, used in the middle bronze age. It was buried by Canaanites to build up a rampart in order to protect the city. But more importantly, this is where the Tel Dan Stele was found which proved the historicity and existence of King David. The Bible isn't fiction, folks!

LUNCH TIME FINALLLYYY. Honestly, the lunches on field study days were the best! Mostly just because it wasn't moshav food haha, but we had PB&J's and non-kosher sandwiches which if you spend 107 days in Israel, you will understand why this is a huge deal!

There was a nice waterfall here :)

Next was Banias, which is thought to be Caesarea Philippi. Jesus came into this region during his private ministry with the twelve disciples. Here is where the discourse of Matthew 16 takes place about Peter being called the rock upon which the church is to be built.

We drove to Nimrod fortress, an Arab and crusader area, and were released for about an hour. There was nothing here Biblical, but it was a super cool site to explore. Unfortunately I felt soo dang terrible, so I only walked around for a little bit before I went back to the bus early. I only got a few pictures which is a darn shame because this place was seriously spectacular.

On our way home, we made a pit stop to look at Mt. Hermon. Too bad the clouds were smothering it haha. This is where the Transfiguration most likely occurred! And it is the highest point in Israel with an elevation of almost 10,000 feet.

Stay tuned for the last three days of our Galilee adventures :)

See the first part of our trip: Galilee, Part 1