We made it! After a long 24 hours of traveling, our group finally arrived in Tel-Aviv all together and began our journey throughout the land of Israel. It didn’t take long after we walked off the plane before we were on our way to our first experience of the trip. Many in our group were tired from traveling, but since we landed about 4:00 PM, we still had a few hours before dinner to see and experience something amazing!
We all hopped on the bus, blown away at the fact that we had actually made it to Israel after many months of preparation! For the next two hours of so, we hiked up Tel-Gezer through the Aijlon Valley stopping several times along the way to read Scripture and listen to our guide Brian, who explained what we were seeing, their meanings, etc. This old city is located in what is called the Shephelah or “hill country”. There were many great lessons to learn on this short, first experience. We were reminded about the importance of keeping the Sabbath day holy, as well as listening and obeying the commands of the Lord. We stopped in an olive grove and looked at what Paul talked about in Romans 11, where he used an olive tree as a picture of the Jews and how Gentiles are grafted in through faith in Christ.
Situated near the International Coastal Highway and guarding the primary route into the Israelite hill country, Gezer was one of the most strategic cities in the Canaanite and Israelite periods. Gezer is a prominent 33-acre site that overlooked the Aijalon Valley and the road leading through it to Jerusalem. The tell was identified as biblical Gezer in 1871 by C. Clermont-Ganneau who two years later found the first of many boundary stones inscribed with the city’s name.
We pressed on and kept drinking our water. The next stop was an old city gate of Gezer built by King Solomon, where we took in the beautiful surrounding scenery. Many times, God helped Joshua and the Israelites to defeat cities and kings in order to take the land He had promised. Thought this was true it was also important that they had faith and obeyed His commands, that they would be blessed. The Gezer experience ended by stopping by some old “high place” Canaanite stones that were huge! Though the exact story of these specific stones from about 1500 B.C. may be unknown, we were challenged personally by this site to be "living stones" as Peter puts it, and the “light of the world and a city on a hill” as Jesus puts it.
We left this impactful experience challenged and ready for more. After arriving at our hotel for the night, we at an amazing buffet dinner together before heading to our rooms to the night. It was evident that everyone was tired and ready to get to bed. We have a big day tomorrow and are excited to hear all that the Lord has to say to us. Thank you all for following along with our trip and praying for our group each day. We hope that you enjoy staying in the loop with this blog and the photos. Have a great night!
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