Israel Study Tour with Joshua Wilderness Institute

Apr 9-21, 2016

Subscription options are no longer available for this tour.

Day One in the Shephelah!

Our first day of touring Israel has gone swimmingly. Now some of these things we once thought of as mere stories, in the form of flannelgraphs and Veggie Tales, feel a little more real.

Today, we started in the memorial of Yad Hashmona just a stone’s throw from the mountain, Kiriath Jearim, where the Ark of the Covenant sat for about 20 years. We then took a tour of a garden comprised of many herbs and fruits—mint, rosemary, lavander, fig, date, olive, grape, etc.—as well as a winepress, olive press, tomb, and a ritual bath, called a mikveh in Hebrew.

Yad Hashmonah

The Biblical Village on the slope of Yad HaShmonah provides visitors with hands-on exposure to the manners and customs of the ancient Israelites. The garden includes olive trees and press, grape vines and several winepresses, wheat field and threshing floor, watchtower, Bedouin tents, ancient Galilean synagogue, and a burial cave. All have been constructed according to the best archaeological knowledge of ancient life.

Learn More

Secondly, we ventured to Beth Shemesh where we read the account of Samson in Judges. The story took on a new light as we looked over the very hills and plains in which the story took place, with our guide pointing at cities and valleys and mountains—both ancient and modern—as names we recognized from reading the scripture. We also entered a cistern where we read some scriptures that described a cistern and how it differed from a well. Rich taught on Jeremiah 2:13 that says God’s people rejected Him, who is like a well with living water, and instead dug cisterns for themselves that are broken and won’t hold water and the water they collect isn’t very good. It was a good picture to remind us that we can get by on our own strength but it is only God that can truly sustain us.

Beth Shemesh

A border city between Judah and Dan, Beth Shemesh was given to the Levites. Beth Shemesh was the most important Israelite city in the Sorek Valley as it watched both east-west traffic through the Sorek Valley and north-south traffic along the “Diagonal Route.” Recent excavations have shown a thriving city here from the Middle Bronze Age through the Iron II period.

Learn More

After this, we went to Azekah, the place where David fought Goliath. As we looked over the hills, Jeff Lilley taught from 1 Samuel 17. We read the story of David and Goliath, looking over the valley and hills and envisioning the scene of the battle, even having two students read the parts of David and Goliath and giving us an inside view to their characters. The idea we walked away with was David was victorious because he put his confidence in the Lord, but Goliath and the Philistines put their confidence in the flesh and the strength of their own deeds. It could be summarized in this passage:

“What one believes about God effects what one does before men. It’s obedieance in the small things and in the quiet moments of life with the Father that define one’s character, and then in turn defines how one will obey when before the eyes of man. For it is as A.W. Tozer wrote, ‘To be right with God often means to be in trouble with Men.’”

Tel Azekah and Elah Valley

The Brook Elah is famous for the five stones it contributed to the young slinger, David. Some surmise that David chose five stones instead of the one needed in case he needed to face Goliath’s four brothers.

Learn More

Finally we spent the remaining portion of the day exploring the underground village of Maresha. We learned that Maresha was known as a great place of business with just about everything but growing crops happening underground, from raising pigeons in columbariums, to pressing olive oil, to digging a quarry.

We are excited to get back to the hotel tonight for some rest so we are ready to explore some more tomorrow!

Shalom,
Malcolm and Baylie

View this post on Instagram

Walked the creek where David picked his stones to fight Goliath, and picked a couple of my own stones// learning to have faith as strong as David #jwiisrael16

A post shared by CASSIDY HEMMINGS (@casshemm) on

View this post on Instagram

Exploring some awesome caves! 🇮🇱 #jwiisrael16 #gtitours

A post shared by Lindsey (@linndzy) on

View this post on Instagram

Best family ever!! We had an amazing time today exploring all these incredible caves and seeing where David fought Goliath. What an incredible experience. #jwiisrael16

A post shared by Lindsey (@linndzy) on

View this post on Instagram

Bel Caves, Israel// April 11 #jwiisrael16

A post shared by CASSIDY HEMMINGS (@casshemm) on

View this post on Instagram

Talking about the Ark and stuff. #jwi16 #jwiisrael16

A post shared by Zachary Kenyon (@zachy13) on

View this post on Instagram

I have always felt like God has His favorites; Moses, David, Paul, John the Beloved, and, of course, Eugenie the Beautiful. (Here, in the Bell Caves of Beit Gurvin, He shows His favor.) In many cases what pleases God may not be what pleases man, but there are those unique individuals who find favor with both God and man.

A post shared by Jeff Lilley (@jeffl7) on

View this post on Instagram

Singing the doxology in the bell caves. #jwiIsrael16

A post shared by Joshua Wilderness Institute (@joshuawilderness) on

View this post on Instagram

At Bet Guvrin, exploring underground life. #jwiIsrael16

A post shared by Joshua Wilderness Institute (@joshuawilderness) on

View this post on Instagram

We got stones from the stream, just like David did. He probably got cat tails in his socks like we did. #jwiIsrael16

A post shared by Joshua Wilderness Institute (@joshuawilderness) on

View this post on Instagram

Reenacting David conquering Goliath, where the Lord conquered the Philistines at the Valley of Elah. "What you believe about God affects what you do before men." David believed that God would deliver Israel. This giant is nothing. #jwiIsrael16

A post shared by Joshua Wilderness Institute (@joshuawilderness) on

View this post on Instagram

Heading toward tel Bet Shemish to talk about the COMPROMISE that marked Samson's life. #jwiIsrael16

A post shared by Joshua Wilderness Institute (@joshuawilderness) on

View this post on Instagram

You can't tell, but we're in a cistern at Bet Shemish. Thinking about places in our lives that we've replaced the living water of Jesus with broken cisterns we've dug on our own. #jwiIsrael16

A post shared by Joshua Wilderness Institute (@joshuawilderness) on

View this post on Instagram

We are this excited about our time so far in Israel. AND IT'S ONLY BEEN ONE DAY! #jwi16 #jwiisrael16

A post shared by Zachary Kenyon (@zachy13) on

View this post on Instagram

• DAY 1 • today was our first day hiking around Israel! the valley behind us is the valley where David and Goliath was fought. i've heard about this bible story since I was a little girl, but getting to see where it actually happened blows my mind! my understanding of the bible is taking on a whole new meaning, and the pages of the bible are coming alive as we venture and explore the Holy Land. #jwiisrael16 #jwi16 #roomielove

A post shared by chloe parker (@mrs.chloeparker) on

View this post on Instagram

|• ya you know yo girls be stayin touristy in Maresha •| #jwiisrael16

A post shared by Keelin Gabrielle Gilbert (@keelingabrielle) on

View this post on Instagram

After a long time of flying, we arrived in Israel last night, and stayed in a hotel in Tel Aviv. We left early this morning, and visited several different biblical sites throughout the day, including the place where Samson lived, and the place where David defeated Goliath. We were able to pick up stones from the very creek (though now dried up) where David picked out his stones to kill Goliath. We are now staying in a very luxurious hotel, right by the Dead Sea! After a fantastic dinner here, some of us found a McDonald's, and had an entertaining time trying to order. It's been a great day, and I'm excited for tomorrow! We're climbing Masada and riding camels! #JWI16 #jwiisrael16 #Israel #theholyland

A post shared by Karis Black (@mintymaiden) on

Featured Upcoming Tour

GTI Signature Tour: Israel & Jordan
Septemer 5-17, 2020

Experience Israel & Jordan for 11 days in the context of biblical history and personal faith.

View Itinerary & Register

Comments