Ancient Paths - Austin group

March 11-23, 2022

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Day 09 - Galilee - Jerusalem : Jordan River, Beth Shean, Jericho Road, Israel Museum, Model of Jerusalem, Shrine of the Book, Western Wall, Rabbinic Tunnels

This morning (Sunday) our team made its way to the banks of the Jordan River for ‘church.’

Can you imagine a better place to remember our own baptism and our identity and mission in Christ as sons and daughters of the Living God?

The water in the Jordan River is flowing fast and is icy cold from the snow melt of Mt. Hermon today.

The banks of the Jordan River are beautiful, lush, bright grassy-green, and covered in yellow, blue, and red wildflowers. Add the warm sunshine, the fat, cooing doves, and our rag-tag team singing “It is Well with my Soul” and it was heavenly.

P.S. The Jordan River is what flows between Nothern Israel (Mt. Hermon) and Southern Israel (Dead Sea) and is what provides the whole land with its much needed water supply.

It was also SO wonderful to have Craig back with us!

After the Jordan River, we travelled to Bet-She’an, one of the powerful, beautiful, and most influential cities of the Decapolis.

As is the case in every Greco-Roman place we’ve visited on this trip, we were forced to examine our own lives, our own culture, our own context, and our own identity, in light of all we witnessed. It made me squirm in a good way.

From there, we travelled to Jericho where we found the narrow ancient path that leads to Jerusalem.

This is my favorite hike as it is rugged, solitary, and brimming with so much of the story and sensibility of a Jewish Jesus.

The last time my husband David and I did this hike it was a million degrees in the middle of summer and a dry wasteland. This time, the lovely Judah mountains were sprouting virgin green grass, frisky sheep, and stone-slinging shepherds, and we could hear the life-bringing waters rushing through the canyon.

Both desert and delight are true.

From there it was onward - an hour and half - up to the city of Jerusalem! What a privilege to be here now, inside the ancient city walls (near Jaffa Gate) listening to all the languages in the steeet below, about to go to sleep in the set-apart city of David. So thankful and humble.

by Kim Hall

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