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Israel Study Tour

February 29 - March 8, 2016

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Knit together by God’s love

Israel is changing us… 35 people are becoming a community - through shared experiences - knit together by God’s love.

Today was a “wow” in many ways.

First, we visited a new part of our Kibbutz, the olive press and the shop selling their natural products. These folks are mindful of the way they steward the earth using all of the olive in their oils and cosmetics. We left there a few shekels lighter, but with products promising longer life with soft un-wrinkled skin.

Onward we went to the Golan Heights, going from 600 feet below seal level to 1500 feet above sea level. We visited the village of Katzrin built in the second century. We sat together in a one room house like homes where Jesus taught and healed. We were challenged as we read the story from Mark 2 about the men who lowered their paralyzed friend through the roof to see Jesus. Even though Jesus was interrupted in His teaching, He responded to their faith and healed the man. Bryan asked “Are we willing to be interrupted to do God’s will?”


The ancient Jewish farming village of Katzrin was built around a spring, which still flows. Although there were standing ruins on the site, archaeological excavations have increased the number of accessible ancient buildings. An ancient synagogue was discovered in 1967 and excavated between 1971 and 1984. Other parts of the village were excavated beginning in 1983. Some of the buildings have been reconstructed on their ancient foundations and furnished with replicas of household goods and tools

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Next stop - the ancient city of Dan where Lebanon was literally a stone’s throw away and where we learned that we had come within ten miles of war-torn Syria. In Dan, archaeologists have found a city gate that is 4000 years old! Also, Abraham visited this city to rescue Lot. Later in 930 B.C. King Jeroboam set up worship of a golden calf here. This city was given to idolatry and today it is in ruins.

Tel Dan

On the northern frontier of the kingdom, Dan was particularly well fortified. This gatehouse was built in the ninth century BCE, probably by Ahab, and is part of a series of gateways discovered.

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Leaving there we went to Banias Caesarea Philippi to the temple of Pan where detestable practices took place. Even so, Jesus used this unlikely place to reveal to His disciples that He was the Christ, the Son of the Living God. (Matthew 16:13-20) The spring water there is part of the beginnings of the Jordan River, so we took some of it back with us to the Sea of Galilee to be used in our baptisms. Twelve members of our group were baptized there in that sea that Jesus crossed so many times.

We finished our day with Ronan demonstrating the sharing of the bread and wine in the Shabat meal. A wonderful end to a wonderful day.

—Mary Ewing

Caesarea Philippi

This abundant water supply has made the area very fertile and attractive for religious worship. Numerous temples were built at this city in the Hellenistic and Roman periods.

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Here's another video from yesterday that didn't get uploaded in time!

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