Israel Study Tour with Joshua Wilderness Institute

Apr 5-18, 2019

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The lengths Jesus goes to for us

Springs of Harod
Today after spending time at the ruins of the Schytopolis under the warm Israeli sun we had the opportunity to visit the springs of Harod which is a group of three freshwater springs where Gideon has victory over the Midianites in Judges 7. Being in the place of this well known bible story was very cool. It is really easy to breeze over the context of the story and forget where it was and why it’s significant. Seeing that this place happened near these springs was very cool and made the story come to life. Since today is Shabbat, most families (and us) got to experience a day of rest, so after a few sites and a cool boat ride we cooled off for a couple of hours swimming in these freshwater springs. After being reminded of the warm Southern California days, a dip in the pool was the most refreshing thing we could have had! We were all enjoying/freaking out from the fish that bit off our dead skin, attempting to scale the rocks along the spring, and swimming through tunnels and waterfalls. Afterwards we got tanned (sunburnt actually) and enjoyed some magnum bars. It really was a good Shabbat and time of rest. I am grateful that the tour allows us to experience this part of the Israeli culture and provide some much needed rest.

God has definitely been teaching me (Brenden) throughout this trip my constant need for him. Jesus is the only place we can find our hope, which is why Peter and the disciples dropped everything to follow him. They recognized that he was the mayim chaim (living water) because of this they could be refreshed and rested in him. All of Israel’s geography, rich history, and biblical lessons point to our need for God and a savior.

-Brenden Bourbonnais

Beth She’An
Today we visited Beth She’An. Beth She’An is an ancient tel that has been used for 19 different civilizations. We learned that when Saul was defeated by the Philistines, the Philistines, took his body and hung it on the walls at Beth She’An. In 200 years, the Greeks built the a city next to the tel, and the old buildings on the tel were turned into the temple of Acropolis. This new city is called Schytopolis and is one of the biggest in all of Israel. This new city was built in 60 B.C.E. by Pompous, one of the commanders of Rome. Slowly over time the city that was inhabited by the Greeks, became a Roman city. And the Romans put many temples for different gods and many bathhouses and a theatre to appease the people. This city was also very wealthy and was the hub for international trade. The city had floors made of marble and huge columns made of granite. Sadly, there was a huge earthquake in 749 C.E. and destroyed of the ruins around Israel especially this city.

-Ryan Weber

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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Boat ride
We started off the morning with a boat ride across the Sea of Galilee when we got to the center we turned off the engines and Sam gave us a talk in how in the Bible how water is viewed as a bad or scary thing but put that into contrast weigh examples of god using water to be a good or helpful thing. We then got to have a time of worship as we continued our ride to the shore. We then ended our by dancing and having a good time as we reached the shore of Tiberius.
Isaiah Thompson

Hippos (Susita)
We ended our day with our last site at a town named hippos. This was a very wealthy town and we learned that this is where Jesus took the spirit from the demon possessed man and sent it into the pigs. It was so beautiful at sunset and was cool to get a great message from a place that used to be an evil town that cast our people that where not good enough. And also getting the message of caring as much as Jesus did because Jesus cross all the way to the other side of the sea for this one man. It was such a cool reminder of the lengths Jesus goes to for us. And how far we should go for others.
Isaiah Thompson


Hippos (Ancient Greek: Ἵππος, "horse")[1] is an archaeological site in Israel, located on a hill overlooking the Sea of Galilee. Between the 3rd century BC and the 7th century AD, Hippos was the site of a Greco-Roman city,[2] which then declined under Muslim rule and was abandoned after an earthquake in 749. Besides the fortified city itself, Hippos controlled two port facilities on the lake and an area of the surrounding countryside. Hippos was part of the Decapolis, or Ten Cities, a region in Roman Jordan, Syria and Israel that were culturally tied more closely to Greece and Rome than to the Semitic ethnoi around.

Established as Antioch of Hippos (Ἀντιόχεια τοῦ Ἵππου) by Seleucid settlers, the city is named after the Greek language word for horse, Hippos, and a common name of Seleucid monarchs, Antiochus. In the 3rd-century Mosaic of Rehob, the site is known by its Aramaic name, Sussita (Hebrew: סוסיתא‎‎), a word meaning "horse" in the feminine gender, while the Arabic name, Qal'at al-Hisn, has been used by the country's Arab inhabitants, meaning, "Fortress of the Horse/Stallion". Other names include the alternate spelling Hippus and the Latinized version of the Greek name: Hippum. The precise reason why the city received this name is unknown.[3]

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It doesn’t get much better then a dance party on a boat on the Sea of Galilee! 🙌🎉

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