Our last day
Well, our trip has come to its final day. Strategically, our final day was much more relaxed, to give our bodies and brains a chance catch up with all the walking, hiking and learning we were doing each and every day.
It was our first day to sleep in, although many of us were up early enough to enjoy some coffee, food and good conversation with leisure. We then began our day over at the David Sifting Project, getting our hands into the buckets of dig debris, and utilizing wet sifting to search for pieces of archaeology. In triplets, we poured, sprayed, sifted and found all sorts of amazing goods. This included: the base to an oil lamp from the first temple period and pieces from lamps of the second temple period, various human and animal bones, glass, iron nails from Roman boots and much more. No one wanted to leave!
We enjoyed a lunch of Jerusalem bagels and dips (za'atar and oil, hummus, sour cream and date honey, Nutella, and goat cheese) and then spent time over at the Israel Museum seeing the giant replica of first century Jerusalem based on archaeology and historical records. We also explored the Dead Sea Scrolls found at Qumran and took the time to explore the actual archaeology we talked about at all the sites on display at this museum.
Finally, we headed the mere 9 miles south to Bethlehem and finished our trip at the top of the Herodian, a man-made fortress/palace/mausoleum of Herod the great. From there we taught through the context of this fortress and how it creates a contrast with the birth narratives of Jesus in Bethlehem. In the end, despite all that Herod the Great built or did to make a name for himself as king, his tomb sat on this fortress. Whereas the King of kings who came down into humble circumstances, His tomb sits empty and His name is declared and praised all around the world.
Herodium is 3 miles southeast of Bethlehem and 8 miles south of Jerusalem. Its summit is 2,460 feet above sea level.
Herod built or re-built eleven fortresses. This one he constructed on the location of his victory over Antigonus in 40 BC.
After some final shopping and our farewell dinner, we prepare to leave this fruitful and memorable place. It feels like we have been here for years and leaped into far more of the Bible than we ever planned. We pray that our journey and stories, supplemented with the many photos and videos, will display how all-encompassing and transformative such a trip is for our faith and life. And that you as our family and friends would see the chance within us!
Next Year in Jerusalem
Pastor Matt Bach
Featured Upcoming Tour
GTI Signature Tour: Israel & Jordan
Septemer 5-17, 2020
Experience Israel & Jordan for 11 days in the context of biblical history and personal faith.
View Itinerary & Register