Israel Study Tour with Crossings Community Church

Feb 16-28, 2020

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An ancient modern city

We are just about a whole week into the trip - already halfway! Time is flying, but we are soaking in every single minute!

Today we had our daily devo time at the dock of the boat that was going to take us across the Sea of Galilee. A few took the opportunity to speak up and share some meaningful moments and thoughts they’ve had thus far. We then loaded up the boat then headed straight across the sea on that water that Jesus once traveled.

It took about 20-30 minutes to get across, so we had plenty of time to visit with each other while enjoying the amazing view. As we arrived, we docked at a museum that housed a 2,000 year old wooden boat that had been discovered in 1986 during a drought which brought water levels down just enough for a massive discovery like this to occur. This boat was constructed just like the ones the disciples would have fished from and traveled in. The age of it puts it precisely at the time Jesus was living.

Ancient Boat (Ginosar)

The Ancient Galilee Boat, also known as the Jesus Boat, is an ancient fishing boat from the 1st century AD, discovered in 1986 on the north-west shore of the Sea of Galilee in Israel. The remains of the boat, 27 feet (8.27 meters) long, 7.5 feet (2.3 meters) wide and with a maximum preserved height of 4.3 feet (1.3 meters), first appeared during a drought, when the waters of the Sea (actually a great fresh-water lake) receded.[1] There is no evidence connecting the boat to Jesus or his disciples.

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Next, we went to Bet She’an, which is a city historically known as Scythopolis. This is an archeological site of the Greco-Roman time period. We spent a lot of time here today learning the vast history of this place and appreciating the intricate detail that went into every square foot of the city. This city had been planned very methodically and intentionally. Terry made the comparison of this site to the one in Chorazin that we visited yesterday. In Chorazin, the layout of the city revealed what those people valued most by the way the synagogue was located at the very center of the village. They placed high value on family and on God. In contrast, in Scythopolis, the center of the city was an open area where business would’ve taken place. This tells us they valued commerce and money.

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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Last but certainly not least, we visited the Jordan river. Those that chose to be baptized had the opportunity to do so. For some, it was their very first time! There were birds flying around the river as our group stepped down one-by-one into the Jordan. It was one big celebration! You could feel the presence of God. So powerful and so much joy! PS… the water is VERY cold!!

To end the night, we went to dinner at a local seafood joint where those who are more brave than I am ordered fish for dinner… with the head and tail attached!! It was quite the experience and an image I’ll not soon forget.

It was yet another packed day of inspiration and awe from the story of Jesus. One main idea has gripped me today… What we value the most will live at the center of our hearts, minds, and actions and is evident to anyone who comes into contact. The city built around the synagogue screamed what was valued - worship and devotion to God. The city built around big business told a different story - selfishness and materialism. I had to ask myself, which of these cities is my soul modeled after?

We’re learning by now that each day is moving by way too fast. Our hope is that we continue to lean in and not miss anything that God may be speaking to us.

Until tomorrow,
Layla Tov

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GTI Signature Tour: Israel & Jordan
Septemer 5-17, 2020

Experience Israel & Jordan for 11 days in the context of biblical history and personal faith.

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