Last Day in Galilee
Hello blog people I am Scott (Kelly's father), and although I am not a familiar social media user, I am here because Angie is a hard girl to deny. Today was my most favorite day yet because I was able to assist Matt in the baptism of three young adults: Jarrett, Abby, and Kelly. (yes, we did video them) more on that later.
We started the day on a mountain top named Hippos (horse) that overlooked the Sea of Galilee. In the 2nd Century the Gentiles of the Golan Heights built a town across the lake from Tiberius . We were able to explore the ruins and many of us walked through a long tunnel that was occupied by bats. Jarrett came out of the tunnel thinking he was the new Batman. Matt used this location to remind us that when Jesus performed miracles in Galilee he ask the witnesses to not tell anyone and when he did miracles in Gentile's land he requested that they tell everyone. Hmmm, maybe sowing some seed? As Matt finished the lesson, I was struck by the fact that we were using 2200 year old fallen marble pillars as benches.
Our next stop was Bet She'an (strong house) which had both part of an ancient Tel and a glorious Roman city. The Tel was enormous, having had 19 ancient civilizations built on top of each other, dating back to the 12th century BC. Ronan taught us the fascinating history of the site which guarded the valuable Jezreel Valley and the trade routes of Israel. The Romans built Scythopolis the capital of a 10 city region next to the Tel in 63 BC. Ronan role-played an ancient roman tour guide and showed us both the city and how easy it is for young people of any century to get lost in the pleasures of metropolitan life.
Located 17 miles (27 km) south of the Sea of Galilee, Beth Shean is situated at the strategic junction of the Harod and Jordan Valleys. The fertility of the land and the abundance of water led the Jewish sages to say, “If the Garden of Eden is in the land of Israel, then its gate is Beth Shean.” It is no surprise then that the site has been almost continuously settled from the Chalcolithic period to the present.
Next we traveled back to the Sea of Galilee for a boat ride, and then we looked at the "Jesus Boat". Matt taught a great lesson about the similarities between Jonah and Jesus and their outreach toward the Gentiles.(you who were once far away have been brought near by the precious blood of Christ--it is still ringing in my ears and heart -- thanks Matt, God has used you).
The best part of the day was the baptisms. Ronan led us to a perfect spot on the Jordan River, and Matt led a short lesson that helped prepare our hearts. Baptism is the outward declaration of the inward reality. Jarrett went first, presented his testimony, and declared his faith and resolve to follow Christ. Matt, with my assistance, plunged him into the Jordan. Kelly was second with a very succinct testimony, declared her faith, her willingness to follow Christ, and she was plunged. Abbey followed with a speech about the important people in her life with love and appreciation, declared her faith, her willingness to follow Christ, and was plunged into the Jordan! Hallelujah! The others were allowed to swim as their own mikveh (commitment to God's path). The day ended with our last swim in the Sea of Galilee and tomorrow we head towards Jerusalem!
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