Israel Study Tour with North Coast Church

Nov 17-28, 2019

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The Promised Land

We started our day outside at a memorial at Kiriath-Jearim which is the location near the battlefield between the Israelites and Philistines as described in 1 Samuel 4! We could see and get a feel for the lay of the land. It’s so hilly and a very rough terrain.

We learned about the Promised Land and that the land that Abram left was technically much better land than was promised to him, but the promise of the land being given to Abram and his heirs (which ended up being Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses and Joshua).

The borders promised set the land at an area smaller than LA to San Diego and, over time, those borders have changed dramatically.

We learned that as Americans, we think of a land “glowing with milk and honey” to represent lots of cows and bees, but to these people it’s a land of sheep and goats (milk) and dates (honey).

God promised Abram a “good land” and in Deuteronomy 8:6 it’s defined as wheat & barley, olives and vines, pomegranates, figs and dates.

After that we learned about the burial sites, the Mikveh (ritual bathing), threshing floor, olive press, grape press and the correlation between these items and the Old and New Testament references.

After that we went to the Shephela Valley. We went to Beth Shemesh and saw samples of Tels (where one people were conquered by another, their towns were covered over by the conquering people and they built new cities on top of old ones.) This results in man made hills scattered all over the area.

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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Beth Shemesh is the plains. Where they grow the food. The valleys are green and alive, but were historically the place of so many historical battles as referenced in Joshua 19:41, 21:16; 1 Samuel 6:10-21; Judges 1:34,35; 1 Chronicles 6:59; 2 Kings 14:11-14; 2 Chronicles 25:21-24, 28:18

And Chris Brown completed an amazing Daily Dose for everyone to see and learn.

—Cheryl S.


One of the most interesting things we learned about today was how much goes on under the ground we walk on. What appears to be a landscape of olive trees and pathways is so much more. Underneath are dozens of enormous caves. The caves were man-made in the soft chalky limestone and provided insulation from the heat and cold, along with protection from from enemies, leaving the land above available for cultivation. We learned that entire cities were Icreated underground with everything they. We visited one cave which could easily have held several hundred people and was at least two to three stories high. The cave was filled with small niches where doves could make their nests and then the people could use the doves for food and sacrifices, and their manure for fertilizer. The Caves and cisterns Underground were wonderful reminders of how much goes on beneath the surface that we don't know about in other people's lives.

Cathy U.


We entered an underground cistern, it was made of limestone allowing for it to be easily excavated. However the limestone would not hold water well as it was too permeable. Therefore, the walls required plastering in order to serve as a vessel that would hold clean living water.

This cistern was very large both in height and width and had a opening in the ceiling for water to flow in. The walls showed where the plaster had cracked allowing seepage of the water and contamination from the limestone.

We read from the scripture Jeremiah 2: 13 “My people have committed two sins: they have forsaken me, the spring of the living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water.”

We were then asked to turn off our flashlights and were immediately cast into total darkness, we then joined together in prayer to ask our Lord to teach us how to learn to do nothing without God.

—Krista E.


The most memorable part of today was seeing the inside of a cistern in Beth Shemesh. Being able to see the comparison between Living Water, which God promised his people if they obeyed his commands, and cistern water, which is was what God's people chose when they relied on themselves, was very striking and tangible. A challenge to think on what areas of my life are being fed by Cistern water or Living Water.

—Wendy P.


Rising to see the sun rise and chatting with the Creator of this beautiful land.

Standing in the creek bed, wondering if David took as long to choose his 5 stones as I did.

Singing amazing grace in the bell caves with our group.

Staring into the darkness of the cistern praising God for heal my from my brokenness and using it t to bless others.

—Taryn

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