January 26, 2015
Monday was been a full day for the team. And by full, I mean we explored what would take most work study tours 2 days to cover, and managed to compress it into 1 day! The bus dropped us off at the bottom of a valley near a bridge overpass. Nearby, a local would unlock the rusty fence that leads into Beth Shan. We would travel on foot to the top of this tell. 1 Samuel 31 explains King Saul’s death, and that his body (and the body of his son Jonathan) was fastened to the gate of Beth Shan. From there we walked to other end of the tell. And to our surprise, the ruins of a large roman city was at the base of the tell. Chris Brown would share his thoughts on this massive roman city: “maybe this was the city where the prodigal son spent his inheritance?” It was within walking distance of Capernaum…perhaps. This city would boasted a gymnasium, spa, spa services, and theater. It would have been the Las Vegas of it’s time.
January 25, 2015
Today we continued our tour of Galilee. We spent most of our day in the Decapolis, which is located on the east side of the Sea of Galilee and then ended in northern Israel. We started by visiting a 4th Century church in Hippos that is right below the cliffs. People believe this is the spot where Jesus healed the demon possessed man and sent the demons into pigs. It was amazing to get to sit there in an old historic church and hear the story told on the location.
January 22, 2015
Today was the team’s first full day exploring Israel. A few minutes away from our hotel in the mountains of Judea, was a local garden. But, this garden also had full replicas of everyday items found in the bible. We spent the morning getting acquainted with a wine press, olive press, hillside terraces, ceremonial bath, and a threshing floor. A first glance, the site seemed to be questionable. Why spend time walking around a garden with replicas when there was an entire country to still explore? Shortly into the tour, any doubts were . This site provided cultural, agricultural, and geographical context to many stories our team had previously taught like Gideon’s encounter with the angel of the Lord (Judges 6) and Jesus turning water into wine (John 2:1-12).