Israel Study Tour with Grace Central Coast

Oct 28 - Nov 9, 2019

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Speaking to a full house

We began our day in Katzrin where the remains of a small village were recovered. We were greeted by our host who politely told us that we were ‘underdressed’ to step back in time. We each robed ourselves in tunics and headscarf’s, looking quite similar!

We entered an area where three (3) different olive presses presented us with an opportunity to operate much like was done in ancient times. We learned how green, brown, and black olives were different only by their ripeness. We learned that olives were used for many things ranging from food, lamp oil, perfume base, and medicinal products.


The ancient Jewish farming village of Katzrin was built around a spring, which still flows. Although there were standing ruins on the site, archaeological excavations have increased the number of accessible ancient buildings. An ancient synagogue was discovered in 1967 and excavated between 1971 and 1984. Other parts of the village were excavated beginning in 1983. Some of the buildings have been reconstructed on their ancient foundations and furnished with replicas of household goods and tools

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Next we each made our own flat breads, and learned that a baker in ancient times was called a ‘Seal’ because they used a stamp seal to identify the bread that they made for sale.

Finally, we entered the remains of a stone house, all 30+ of us! The single room building was used for all purposes in ancient days (dining, sleeping, and socializing). It was then that Jeremy told the story of Jesus speaking to a full house- so full that people were standing outside to hear him speak. Then 4 friends desperate to allow their paraplegic friend to be close to Jesus, tore open the thatch roof and lowered him into the room. Jesus reacted by telling them that for the strong faith, their sins were forgiven. Jeremy then challenged each of us, “Are you/Would you ‘tear the roof off a home’ to help your friend find the love of Jesus?

Next stop was Mount Bengal. Here we were so close to the Syrian border that we could see the secured border gate. As we drove further we were told that we were approaching an area where it was near the border of Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, and Israel. It was interesting as we drove through an area where the occupancy had changed from Syria to Israel in recent times.

We then arrived at Caesarea Philippi, the ruins of a temple built by Herod the Great (named after Ceasars son Phillip.). This location is where the headwaters of the Jordan River are. In ancient days the temple was filled with immorality acts of perversion. Ironically, Jesus brought his disciples here to demonstrate that even the most paganistic practices could not undermine the Church.

Pastor Ken prayed prior to viewing the temple and stressed how we needed to not just connect with those that are Christians already, but reach those that are in need of diverting from their paganistic ways. He also emphasized that even in the Central Coast we have a large percent of non-church goers that needed to hear the Word.

Caesarea Philippi

This abundant water supply has made the area very fertile and attractive for religious worship. Numerous temples were built at this city in the Hellenistic and Roman periods.

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Finally, we visited Dan and saw one of the main tributaries that feeds the Jordan. We also saw more ruins, including a structure where an arch had been built. This amazing find debunked the theory that the Romans were the first to ‘engineer’ an archway. This archway was constructed in Israel ~ 1000 years before the first Roman archways were constructed.

The Cowen Family 11-3-19

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