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The Dead Sea – Israel | Day 6

We went to 4 locations along the Dead Sea.

1. Masada – I have to be honest. I had never heard of Masada.  It blew our minds, though. We took a cable car up a 1800 mountain in what looked like the Grand Canyon.  Basically, it was a remote Palace created by King Herod by the Dead Sea.  In 70 AD when the Romans took over things, it became a hideout for a radical group of 900 Jews.  The Romans discovered them a few years later and and did everything they could to capture the temple.  It took about 3 years, but the Romans finally built a ramp up the 1800 foot cliff.  However, when they got up there, they realized that the night before, the Jews had all taken their own lives so that they Romans wouldn’t have the pleasure in killing them.  To hear that story and see the amazing technology of water and food grown in the desert was incredible.

masada was located on top of the mountain

Masada was located on top of the mountain.  Many of the remains are still there.

2. En Gedi – This place is referenced by David many times.  In fact, it is where he cut part of Saul’s garment in the cave and spared his life when he could have killed him very easily.  I really wanted to visit this location.  So cool.  We saw deer that David referenced in the Psalms and also saw the spring of water that he referenced.

3. Qumran – This is there the Dead Sea scrolls were discovered in the early 1900s.  These scrolls were originally written between 30BC and 100AD.  They confirm the text that our King James Bible recorded.  There were over 14,000 scrolls discovered.  60% of the scrolls are still unread to this day! The Jews won’t release them.  A theory is that these people were converted by John the Baptist and were at the baptism of Jesus (just down the road) and that a copy of Matthew was also found.  The Jews don’t want it released.  The scrolls have already confirmed that John the Baptist did visit them!

4. Swimming in the Dead Sea!  We got in the Dead sea and actually floated effortlessly.  It was amazing!

Here are some samples of what it is like to be with our tour guide.  These were from today.

Israel | Day 5

Today, we started off with a boat ride on the Sea of Galilee.  The weather was incredible.  Cool and crisp.  We loaded a large wooden boat and cast off for a 45min tour around the water.  We learned of the storms and position of Jesus walking on water.  We had a demonstration of casting a net. (it was not very authentic.  In fact, Will and I have the same cast net for salt water fishing in Texas. However, the whole experience was awesome.  To soak in the sights and be on the famous lake that I have read about all my life.  From the middle of the lake, you can see Mt Hermon where most people believe the Transfiguration happened.  It is the only snow covered peak in the Golan Heights.  Beautiful.

Sunrise over Sea of Galilee

Sunrise over Sea of Galilee

Our crew headed to the boat ride on sea of Galilee

Our crew headed to the boat ride on sea of Galilee

Sea of Galilee Boat

Sea of Galilee Boat

the boat had a Nigerian worship CD! We were jamming to that.

the boat had a Nigerian worship CD! We were jamming to that.

On left side is Tagba where 5000 were fed. On right is Bethsaida.  Jesus walked on water in between.

On left side is Tagba where 5000 were fed. On right is Bethsaida. Jesus walked on water in between.

Tiberias

Tiberias

From there, we went just about 5 miles down the Jordan River and we baptized two people in our group.  We put on swimming clothes and then purchased a gown to go over our clothing.  The water was ice cold.  The rest of the group sang Amazing Grace acapella as we went into the water.  After the baptism, we had a very emotional and powerful time of prayer and singing on the shore of the Jordan. We will never forget this moment.  There was actually a white bird that flew across.  However, it was not a dove.  It was more like a sea gull.

Baptism at the Jordan River

Baptism at the Jordan River

We left this portion of the Jordan and traveled south to the spring of Gideon where the army of 300 men defeated the enemy of the Jews.  This is a powerful story in the Bible where God reduces the number of people in the army in order to show his power.  In the same general area is where Saul was defeated and ended his own life.  We visited an ancient city that was discovered 50 years ago.  This city is thought to be about 3000 years old. It is called Bet She’an.

Ancient City

Ancient City

From there we traveled about 1 hour south to Jericho.  They claim it is the oldest existing city in the World.  (over 8000 years old).  This is the place where the walls came tumbling down.  We saw ruins of civilizations dating back to this period.  This is also where Elisha made the spring water sweet by throwing a bowl of salt in the water.  Also, Zacheous sat in the sycamore tree when Jesus entered the town.  They believe the mountain just outside the city is where the devil tempted Jesus in the desert. The stories go on and on.  I rode a camel here!

Camel Ride!

Camel Ride! I’m as tall as the bus!

Sycamore Tree over 1000 years old. Similar to the Zacheus' tree.
Sycamore Tree over 1000 years old. Similar to the Zacheus’ tree.

Jericho is in 'occupied territory'.  Palestinian area.

Jericho is in ‘occupied territory’. Palestinian area.

Jericho fruit market

Jericho fruit market

Huge display of chicken, lamb, ka bobs, delicious bread and hummus.  The strongest coffee ever...

Huge display of chicken, lamb, ka bobs, delicious bread and hummus. The strongest coffee ever…

Jericho at dusk

Jericho at dusk

This pit is 40' deep and each layer reveals a different society dating thousands of years.

This pit is 40′ deep and each layer reveals a different society dating thousands of years.

chillin in the world's oldest town.

chillin in the world’s oldest city.

Our hotel is so sweet.

Our hotel is so sweet.

Jericho at night. It was busy.

Jericho at night. It was busy.

Most agree that this is the mountain where Jesus was tempted to Jump after fasting for 40 days.

Most agree that this is the mountain where Jesus was tempted to Jump after fasting for 40 days.

 

To see all the posts from Israel, click here.

Israel | Day 4

Capernaum

Capernaum

Here are some short video clips from the last couple days..

Clip 1: Caeserea – You see this ampitheater that was built by the Romans and King Herod just before the time of Christ. Over 1000 people can sit in this theater and hear the singers, actors, or musicians down at the bottom (without a sound system). Ceaserea was built on the Mediterranean Sea right in the middle of the country. They still use the ampitheater to this day!

Clip 2: This is modern-day Nazareth. A bustling little city in North Central Israel. This is where Jesus grew up!

Clip 3: This is an actual/working olive press that is used annually at Nazareth Village. This is a neat little place that recreates life during Jesus time. We saw a weaver and carpenter actually doing the work of the time period of Jesus.

Clip 4: We were able to visit a local church in Nazareth on Wednesday evening. Here is a clip of one of their worship songs.

 

To see all the posts from Israel, click here.

Israel | Day 3 (part 2)

The second half of the day, we headed to the far north border of Israel (the Golan Heights). In fact, we were in Syrian territory for part of the day.

First of all, let me say that there are absolutely no security concerns.  We have seen one person with a gun (soldier).  He was eating at a fast food place today.  It is completely peaceful in every area we have visited.

Check out this foot washing station outside the bathroom.  This was at a national park.

foot washing

Here is the triangle border where Lebanon, Syria and Israel all meet in the far north.  We visited Caeserea Philippi (there are two Caesereas).   The yellow sign warns people to not cross border because of land mines.

Border of Syria

At this location is where Jesus conversed with Peter about the gates of hell not prevailing against the faith in Jesus. (paraphrase) in Matthew 16.  The black hole is the ‘gate of hell’ where people sacrificed their kids to the Pan God.  This was a powerful tool that Jesus used to show the disciples that not even the most horrible events in this present world could affect your salvation and power of God.

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Here are my new friends!

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This pic below is a shirt we found.  True!

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Pic below is the cliff were the pigs (possessed by demons) plunged into the sea.

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Here I am on FaceTime with Erica. I was pointing the computer at the window so see could see the scenery.  The bus we are on has wifi!!

 

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To see all the posts from Israel, click here.

Israel | Day Three (part 1)

Our guide. A great man, Munir

Our guide. A great man, Munir

It was hard to imagine that our next day could compare to Day 2.  However, everything continues to amaze us.  We have a native guide and bus driver, therefore, they know many locals and have inside connections that other tours don’t have.

The pic above is Munir (bus owner and driver) and Zaire (our tour guide)

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This church was built on the ‘Mount of Beatitudes’. The place believed to be where Jesus preached the Sermon on the Mount.  The pic below is our group sitting on rocks on the side of the mountain and me speaking to them.  I read part of Matthew 5 and we prayed here.

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Here is an ancient boat discovered in the mud of the Sea of Galilee.  It is from the first century.

 

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The ‘mountain’ in the center of the pic is where Jesus preached the Sermon on the Mount.

 

 

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Fresh squeezed Pomegranate juice! So good. $2 a cup. Worth it!

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We need a sign like this at church! At all holy places, they do not allow immodest clothing or other things shown here.

 

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The small village on the hill here is where Mary Magdalene was from.

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Here was my breakfast.  That is a serious Jalepeno!! This is the land of milk and honey and large peppers.  Remember, how big the grapes were in the Old Testament.

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These remains are Capernium, the city where Jesus lived most of his adult life.  Many amazing things happened here in Jesus’ life.  There is a church built on what is believed to be Peter’s home.  The ruins here are actually from Jesus’ time period.  It was in one of these homes that the man was lowered from the roof and Jesus performed a miracle in his life.

Please excuse my typos and misspellings.  I am doing good to get posts up.  More later…

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