History and Culture
We prayed for Richard Lundgren who was admitted to the hospital with what they believe to be pneumonia. His son David stayed with him at the hospital. Jim Showers led us in prayer for him and for the Lord to restore him to full health. Please continue praying for him. He’s in very good hands!
On our way to the Jordan River, Miriam pointed out to us the location of the Gadarenes where Jesus healed the demon-possessed man. The demons were permitted to enter a herd of swine and they ran off a cliff into the Sea of Galilee. When we arrived at the Jordan River location we learned that this was not actually near the site where Jesus was baptized. John actually conducted his ministry in the Judean Wilderness, near the Dead Sea. The location that we used was adopted because of the struggles with the country of Jordan. As our time of baptism began we sang the Doxology and I Have Decided to Follow Jesus. Pastor shared a wonderful devotion on the baptism of Jesus and it’s direct relation to the Hebrew Scriptures.
It took two hours to drive from the baptismal site near the Sea of Galilee to Rehovot. As we drove down the road I couldn’t help but notice the picturesque scenery. The mountains on my left and what seemed to be farmland on my right. Israel is such a beautiful land. I also noticed they have a lot of roundabouts on the roads or what we in New Jersey call traffic circles. The houses here in Israel are also so different, at least on the outside. Of course the materials are vastly different. I wonder what the insides look like. I’ve also noticed how different the farms are here in Israel from the US. We traditionally have barns and silos. As we are driving we passed Mt. Tabor which was where Deborah and Batak defeated Sisera it is also the location of the Mt. of Transfiguration.
Miriam shared with us that the Biblical site En Dor, where King Saul consulted a medium, today is a kibbutz. Nothing of the Biblical town remains. She also shared with us about Nein, where Jesus raised a young man from the dead, is today a Muslim town. There is still a Catholic Church present there, and pilgrims visit on occasion. We also traveled through Afula which is at the foot of Mt. Moreh. While driving through Afula I noticed posted signs from the Lubivich Menachem Mendel Schneerson, traditionally addressed simply as the Rebbe, who died in 1994, in NYC. His followers believe him to be the messiah. On route Miriam shared with us that we are traveling on Rt. 6 Israel’s only toll road. They thought that paying to drive on a road worked well in the US, so why not here?
On our left as we drove to Rehovot was the West Bank (of the Jordan River). Due to attacks by terrorist who would seek to bomb Israeli civilians, the wall/ fence was constructed to protect the Jewish people. We learned that organized terror attacks have dropped but lone wolf terror continues. As we approach the hospital Jim Showers explained to the tour group about our Origins and The Hesed Project ministry tours that The Friends of Israel sponors and what an encouragement and blessing they have been to the hospital staff and also to the participants.
We were most warmly welcomed at Kaplan Medical Center and they showed us an in-depth presentation on the hospital and where they are hoping to be in the future. They treated us to lunch and gave our tour a brief but interesting tour of their state-of-the-art Pediatric ER Center.
Ayalon Institute Ammunition Factory on Kibbutz Hill was our next stop. This is a fascinating story from Israel’s independence. It shows how one small group could make a BIG difference. This was a full functioning kibbutz on the outside with a munitions (bullet factory) on the inside. The hidden factory was underneath the ground covered by a laundry facility for the noise and a bakery to cover the smell. The secret was kept from the majority of those who lived and worked here at the kibbutz. Only 60 people on the kibbutz knew there were 15 young Israelis doing this. Those who didn’t know what was happening were called giraffes. The machines that made the bullets came from Poland and had to be smuggled in. The Factory was built in 22 days to cover their digging they told the British that they were building an underground area to hold fruit. The secret was kept until the day after Israel declared her independence 5/15/1948
Up to Jerusalem!
As we entered Jerusalem we listened to the beautiful song entitled Jerusalem. Many sang all by as we entered this timeless city.
After we checked into our hotels and had dinner we were able to tour the Western Wall Tunnel. The new gate is called “new” because it is only 140 years old. Sir Charles Warren found the tunnels during the time of the Turks. Warren took out some stones and saw that there was a vast network of roads under the street. The rest was not excavated until after the 1967 war.
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