July 4, 2014
All too often we want to view the world in black or white, this is seldom the reality of things as there is always a gray area somewhere in-between. The tangible evidence of this dividing line here can be found in the presence of the wall. This wall adorned with the prayers, stories, pleas for peace and the scars of protest stands as a monument of the unresolved conflict between Israel and Palestine. In a moment it triggers memories of the Berlin Wall or the “Troubles” in Ireland. This wall stands in the middle of the two extremes, but living in the shadow of the wall are people who are not extreme at all.
July 1, 2014
Try to imagine reading one of your favorite Bible stories while sitting on the mountaintop where the story took place. Today I had that unique opportunity. Our group visited Mount Carmel today, and as we climbed the stairs of the church located on top of the mountain, I felt anticipation at seeing the site of my favorite story from the Old Testament. And there it was. The rolling green landscape on one side, and a city on the other. I looked out in awe.
June 30, 2014
Everyone was rejoicing as we all got to sleep in today. Breakfast was at 8:30 instead of our normal 6:30 this morning. We had our first breakfast in the Alexandria Hotel. Our table was filled with eggs, pita, jam, veggies, and of course some wonderful juice. After breakfast, we had a short meeting stating we were free until 12:30. My roommate and I went up to our room to get settled in. We also did some laundry, which was well needed. Then many of us went to a burger joint across the street at 12.
June 28, 2014
Today we went to the Biblical sites of Hazor, Caesarea Philippi, and Dan. Hazor is a city located north of the Sea of Galilee, and is also credited with being completely destroyed by Joshua in the Bible. Though a burn layer was found, supporting the idea of destruction, there was also Canaanite remains found above the burn layer which suggests that the city wasn’t completely destroyed.
June 27, 2014
What a morning! Up early and on the road, we left by 7:15. I always laugh at the time difference, because it sometimes means that you who are reading this haven’t gone to bed yet. Anyway, our first stop was around the lake and up a hill. Yehuda, our guide, told us that this was the traditional spot for the giving of the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5-7. We sauntered down the hill a little ways and stopped. At that point, Yehuda told us that the sermon could have been given from either the top or the bottom, it didn’t matter, the voices would have carried. He also showed us mustard plants and mustard seeds. Continuing down the hill, we stopped near a small tree and were given about 10-15 minutes to read and reflect on the Sermon on the Mount.
June 26, 2014
Today was most likely the hardest day of the trip physically, but it was certainly an incredible day! First thing this morning we drove to Masada on the tour bus. On the way, we saw a classic picture of camels walking in a group on the top of a ridge (I love being able to see those classic picturesque scenes in person). In the comparably low heat of 0815, we arrived and began our hike up the Roman seige ramp, which the Romans used to attack the fortress. Although the tour book we have to read said that it takes the physically fit 15 minutes to hike up this steep ramp, it took our awesome group no more than 8-10 minutes.