January 16, 2015
As our time in the Holy Land draws to a close, the group buzzes with excitement over all we’ve experienced, but it’s mingled with a dash of grief because we feel the goodbyes looming. The week has been a series of pendulum swings. A group of strangers have become a community of friends. Together we’ve surveyed the Galilee from Mt. Arbel, and squeezed our way through Hezekiah’s Tunnel in Jerusalem. We threw snowballs on Ronen’s Overlook, and watched waters rage down wadis in the desert.
January 15, 2015
If I could give a title to our day I would call it “darkness and light”. Today we found ourselves in many dark tunnels with limited light. First was the Rabbinic Tunnels, which lead you under a bridge that went to the Temple Mount and along side the Western Temple Mount Wall. Second, we found ourselves traveling down the water filled Hezekiah Tunnel this was built by King Hezekiah to divert the water to safety from the approaching Assyrian army. The Tunnel led us from the City of David or Ancient Jerusalem towards the pool of Siloam. Lastly, we journeyed back up a tunnel that was a 1st century road it was narrow and cramped in many places. When we emerged it led us near the Southern Steps of the Temple Mount.
January 14, 2015
Our day began overlooking the Sea of Galilee at sunrise. Today was our last morning in Galilee, and after a quick breakfast we began the journey from the North to our final destination of the trip – Jerusalem. Rich led our morning devotions on the Eastern shore of the Sea with a reflection on Mark 6 and 7. Nothing illuminates these stories like standing in the areas in which they happened. He conducted us quickly through Jesus calming the storm and his hostile encounter with Legion (or Crazy Larry as he likes to call him) on the shore. After casting Larry’s demons into a herd of pigs the locals send Jesus away. Larry wants to follow but Jesus leaves him behind to share his story with his surrounding community.
January 13, 2015
We began our day by visiting a restored village dating back to the 3rd century A.D. The village is Katsrin, and the emphasis was to see how an ancient family and community lived together. We crowded together in a reconstructed house and learned of the faith of 4 friends who lowered their friend through a roof to bring him to Jesus (Mark 2). True friendship is a relentless introduction to Christ.
January 11, 2015
We got an early start and headed for the coast, from our hotel on the shore of the Dead Sea. Our guide and bus driver were amazed at the amount of the water flowing through the dessert that on average gets about 10cm of rain a year. Our first stop, Ceasarea, was a former port designed and built by King Herod 2,000 years ago. We were introduced to the city through a film explaining the historical significance of this city. We also toured the “new” part of the city, built 1,000 years later by the European Crusaders.
January 9, 2015
Through the rain and snow (that’s right, it snowed this morning), we made it to four locations on day one of our sprint through the Holy Land.
We started the day off in Kiriath Jearim, an area in the mountains not too far east of Jerusalem, where the Ark of the covenant stayed for twenty years when it was returned from the Philistines. Today, there is a garden designed to be similar to what would have existed in the first century including a wine press, an olive press, a watch tower, a tomb, and a mikveh (a bath used for ritual cleansing).
January 8, 2015
Just a quick update to let everyone know that we made it to Israel safe and sound. The Huston and Chicago group caught an earlier flight to Tel Aviv and are already resting at the hotel. What a long flight but as they say, once you board an airliner to the Middle East your trip to the Holy Land begins. Too many stories to tell but let’s just say it was fun to experience so many cultures right from the start as well as drinking a lot of Turkish coffee.
January 7, 2015
We are excited to tell you that all the California crew have arrived at LAX airport and have finished the fun check in process on Turkish Airlines. We are all here, besides our friends flying out of Houston and Chicago who will be meeting us in Israel. While our group is not all together we are having fun getting to know the West Coast crew for the first time.