Israel Study Tour

Mar 17-29, 2019

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Go and proclaim it

In the quiet of the morning we met Mike to start the day with prayer. Our first stop would be the Yardinet Baptismal Site at the Jordan River. We had quite a group of people choosing to be baptised in the very river our Lord did so many years ago. One by one, assisted by Mike, we watched as our fellow tour partners took the plunge announcing their decision to follow Christ. The joy that radiated from them lit all our hearts as we cheered each one. Next came Beth Shean, a town where King Saul's body was brought after his defeat. We started the steep climb on the Via Maris, a trade route where some of the paving stones of basalt are still visible. The ruins were rated low Yahuuda's "wow" scale. From there we hiked up through a gate erected during the crusades. Then came a big, huge "wow" moment as we crested the hillside and looked down on the Roman Bet-She'An, known as Nyssa Scythopolis. In 749 C.E. an earthquake demolished it. You could still see beautiful mosaic floors, merchant shops and columns that have been re-stacked by archaeology renovations. It was so impressive that you could almost see Roman chariots rolling down the center street.

Beth Shean

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.

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Next came Bethsaida where they have excavated part of the city as well as a Jewish Synagogue. Mike explained Jesus had taught in Synagogues like this one and had performed miracles in Bethsaida. We also hiked to the site where it is thought that Jesus feed the multitudes with bread and fish. Mike asked us, "What is it that you have that Jesus could use. He can do more abudanntly than we could ever. If he can use 5 loaves of bread, imagine what he can do in your life."

Bethsaida

The northeastern shore of the Sea of Galilee is a fertile plain where the feeding of the 5,000 likely took place. Israeli maps and excavators currently locate the New Testament city of Bethsaida at an ancient ruin known as “et-Tell.” The excavation team, headed by Rami Arav, is insistent that this site be identified with ancient Bethsaida. Others suggest that Bethsaida may be better located at el-Araj near the lakeshore.

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What struck my heart was when Mark went on to say, "He wants to use your life. Jesus can use it to make a difference in the world if you give it him. He can even use your brokeness."

Our last stop of the day was at the Cliff of Gadarenes. This is where the story of the demon possesed man in Mark, Chapter 5 happened. This is the only place it could happen because of the location of the cliff in relationship to the Sea of Galilee. But as Mike told us, the greatest miracle is Jesus in our lives, changing us. We are the light of world and we need to shine in dark places. Whatever Jesus has done for you go and proclaim it.

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

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