Israel Study Tour with Joshua Wilderness Institute

Apr 5-18, 2019

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The accessibility of God's lessons

This morning we woke up to a crazy cultural cacophony of continental commissary. We had breakfast. Then we loaded up onto the bus and started off to our first biblical location, which was fittingly a garden. It's called Kiriath-Jearim and means forest town in Hebrew. Ronan, our tour guide gave us an introduction of his amazing knowledge when he went over several topics from a story in 1 Samuel to Mikvehs to olive presses.

Our last two adventures were underground. We went to a pigeon farm... that was underground. We learned that pigeons were actually very useful in ancient times and could be used for meat, sending messages, and even for art! The pigeon farm we learned, was connected to an underground city, the city in which Herod the Great grew up!

Our last site was the bell caves. In the shefalah, the limestone is very soft like chalk, but it has a layer of hard limestone on top. So once you dig through the top, you can make the hole wider underground, forming a cave shaped like a bell!

We had an amazing dinner at the hotel! Israel has the most amazing food! Kyle and I (Carson) tried all the desserts. The best one was the coffee moose.

Austin Hughes - Day 1 was so much fun! We woke up to a delicious breakfast then set out for the day. My personal favorite location was Beth Shemesh, Joey taught at this site and we read through the book of Judges and the story of Samson. Reading through the text made the story come alive as we looked on at the Sorek valley and the surrounding mountains. One of the coolest parts of this location was going down into the cistern that supplied water to the city. This was such a cool location and the best part is that they are still doing archeological digs there and discovering more and more about the ancient city.

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.

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Asher Smith - Our third site was definitely an important one. Azekah not only is one the Shephalah's gate city for the Elah Valley but also overlooks much of the Elah Valley where David killed Goliath. Seth shared the story with us and encouraged us to follow David's example of being faithful in the mundane and having Godfidence, or confidence in God. We had lunch afterwards which was a pita bread sandwich and chips that everyone seemed to enjoy. Before we left the area, we stopped real fast to grab a stone or two from the brook that David grabbed his five stones from in the story. Afterwards, we headed over to the site of Adullam. We weren't actually able to have time to go in the caves but Bob spoke at the spot of David as well and how the guy went to God during his 'cave time' or the season of life where he matured the most and his heart felt most exposed. I know that I will feel this more during the rest of the trip, but I was starting to feel the accessibility of God's lessons and hopes for our lives are more accessible than I thought and not necessarily these far out concepts, since we saw places where these things l actually applied and made a difference, like in David and Sampson's life.

Azekah

Azekah (Heb: עזקה, ʿazeqah) was a town in the Shephelah guarding the upper reaches of the Valley of Elah, about 26 km (16 mi) northwest of Hebron. The current tell (ruin) by that name has been identified with the biblical Azekah, dating back to the Canaanite period. According to Eusebius' Onomasticon, the name meant "white" in the Canaanite tongue. The tell is pear shaped with the tip pointing northward. Due to its location in the Elah Valley it functioned as one of the main Judahite border cities, sitting on the boundary between the lower and higher Shephelah.[1] Although listed in Joshua 15:35 as being a city in the plain, it is actually partly in the hill country, partly in the plain.

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We landed in Israel safely! Be sure to follow along the blog with daily posts starting tomorrow! https://gtitours.org/tour-journal/190440

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We had such an incredible first day. Check the story to hear the students sing in the bell caves!

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Israel here we come! 🇮🇱 🇮🇱 🇮🇱

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