Monday, April 13, 2020

Israel Day 4

On this day we checked out of our hotel in the Galilee and began our trek to Jerusalem, making several stops on the way.

We went to Magdala, which is believed to be the birth place of Mary Magdalene. Archaeologist began digging around this area in 2009 and they uncovered an entire first century Jewish town. This area is rich with history for both Jews and Christians. We saw the excavations of a village, a synagogue, and an amazing painting of the woman who touched the hem of Jesus' robe.



Our next stop was Beit She'an where we saw excavations from an old Roman City. The area has only been excavated since the 1980s. This area is mentioned in both the Old Testament and New Testament and is rich in history. It was amazing and gave me goose bumps often.

We had such a great time here. Laughter was one of the themes of this visit. In one area I kept hearing what sounded similar to gun fire. I asked my trusted pastor and friend, Trey, who responded with military exercises, with a very straight face. Keep in mind he has been here approximately 18 times and this was my first. We kept walking and listening to our tour guide, observing various structures on the ground and on top of one another, but I continued to hear this sound. I was confused! I voiced my confusion by asking, why are we hearing this today and repeatedly, is there a military base near by? He again with a straight face, said maybe. As we continued to explore I discovered a speaker that was blasting this said noise, giving life to the earthquake that occurred at some point in ancient history. He had gotten me. I fell for it. It was funny. I warned him, I pay back.

Our next major stop was Jericho. We could see the area Jesus was tempted when led to the wilderness. We saw Zacchaeus's tree. I enjoyed our time in this town. I had the best fresh corn on the cob and purchased a package of dates. I also paid back Trey. I have asthma, while eating I pretended to choke and have a terrible coughing fit. One of my amazing group mates "happened" to be a nurse and came to help. We had others reacting as well. I laughed so hard. We called somewhat of a truce. (Joking and giving each other a hard time may or may not continue to this day.)


We then went up to Jerusalem and stood on Mt. Scopus. It was beautiful. I immediately could tell my personal study of the Hebrew language was paying off as I could see the letter shin ( ש ) in the land. There ae 3 valleys that resemble this letter, the Valley of Ben Hinnom, Tyropoeon Valley, and the Kidron Valley. If you look in 1 Kings 11:36, 2 Kings 21:4&7, 2 Chronicles 6:6, 2, 2 Chronicles 33:4&7 you will read that G-d says He will put His name here. The shin represents Shaddai, a name of G-d.

We then checked into our hotel, the Prima Park Hotel, that would be our home for the next 7 nights,  to get ready for Shabbat. You can ready more about my experience on Shabbat here.

After Shabbat Gidon, Devra, and I walked back to our hotel. It was around midnight. The air was crisp, the night clear. I recall telling Devra how I loved the way the air felt.

Day 4 made my cheeks hurt from laughing and made my cup runneth over.

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