Continuing to follow our Rabbi
Our second day in the Galilee continued to challenge us both physically and spiritually, but it was again a day spent thinking on what it means to follow in the footsteps of our rabbi.
We began our day at Gamla. Gamla is not necessarily a popularized biblical sight, however what, or maybe better who, comes from Gamla matters for us as followers of Jesus. Gamla is home to a sect of the Jewish people known as the zealots. As may be assumed, these people are known for their zeal for God taken to unbelievable extremes. The zealot village that we visited in Gamla was ransacked by the Romans in 66 AD. Through our time spent on Gamla we thought about the part we all have to play as a community of believers, whether or not we could be described as being zealous for God (minus the killing), and the truth that God takes chaotic things and bring good things from them.
Known sometimes as the “Masada of the North,” Gamla is most famous for its strong defense against the Romans in the Jewish Revolt in AD 66. The site is bordered on all sides by deep wadis of the Golan Heights and is approachable by only one footpath from the northeast. The earliest settlement was in the Early Bronze Age and the site was reinhabited by returning exiles from Babylon. Herod the Great settled Jews here to populate his border cities.
Having spent all of the morning hiking Gamla, we had lunch together then journeyed to Caesarea Philippi. Generally Caesarea Philippi was a common place of respite for a Roman soldier. They could partake of spa and worship of their gods. Specifically Caesarea Philippi was a place known for worship of the god, Pan. Pan worship involved all kinds of unthinkable evil acts so it is interesting that Jesus decides to bring his disciples to it. Take a look at Mt. 16:13-28 for further detail of this account. After spending some time in the Scriptures on location of where it happened we left encouraged and confident that Jesus will and is building His church in the face of all kinds of evil and opposition.
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.
Next, we traveled to Tel Dan. This is the location to which the tribe of Dan moved to from Beth Shemesh. Tel Dan contains a very large cultic site from the time of Jeroboam, king of the north. Jeroboam is the son of a commonly known king, Solomon. Jeroboam, in an effort to keep his kingdom in tact had a cultic site built and called the people to worship golden calves. It was shocking that within one generation of the wisest man to ever live such evil was promoted. “Slippage” lies close at hand for all of us and effects the generations that follow.
On the northern frontier of the kingdom, Dan was particularly well fortified. This gatehouse was built in the ninth century BCE, probably by Ahab, and is part of a series of gateways discovered.
We ended the day with a surprise announcement from Brian. In light of Sabbath beginning for the Jewish people (which is sundown Friday to sundown Saturday) we took the rest of the day off and all took a refreshing swim in the Sea of Galilee. Shabbat Shalom!
This journey to Israel brings community quickly, as it is meant to. We are growing closer together as we continue to walk the path together. Please continue to pray that we would have eyes to see, ears to hear, and feet for the path.
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