Israel Study Tour - Troy Thomas & Marshall Holtvluwer

Mar 18-28, 2019

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Pass on what has been given

Day 05!! It is great getting to know all of my other compatriots on this trip. I had breakfast with Al and his bride Suzanne. Al is a mechanical eingeneer buuuttt he is also a musician, dabbled in stand up comedy, and served in the Army for 10 years. Suzanne is a nurse practitioner and also a massage therapist.

As we were talking at breakfast Al said; ""the far side" adds a whole different back story to the Biblical narrative." Al is referring to a Jewish idiom (the far side) that refers to the Garasenes or "the expelled ones." The Garasenes are in a geographic location called the Decapolis and this was a territory where Gentiles settled. Al said that quote in the context of a discussion about what he is learning. He mentioned that he had read the Bible a certain way for 40 years and now he had a whole different way of seeing this particular story (Mark 5:1-20).

This is just a friendly reminder, when we get home please do not forget to ask all of us what we learned about here in Israel. I hope that all of us on this tour will take seriously the responsibility we have to pass on what has been given to us by Ronen, Troy, and Marshall.

We visited a place called Katzrin today. It is a modern city but an ancient one was also found and excavated, 1600 years old. And in the ancient city you can take a tour and experience what Jewish life was like in the 4th century. We got dressed up in robes and got to see what ancient homes looked like and we made bread with a family living nearby. Oh yeah, this was the place I caught on fire...like...literally. Ask me about it when I get home.

Katzrin

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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We also went to Tel Dan and saw one of the oldest archeological sites in the world. The gate at Dan dates to 1800 B.C.!!!! That gate we saw is almost 4,000 years old. We were amazed to be only a few dozen feet from it. Abram, in Genesis 14:14, goes to rescue his nephew Lot and goes to the city of Dan/Laish. This was the very gate Abram walked through. Let that sink in...
Israel has such a rich history of archaeology and only 5% of it has even been discovered. We continue to be surprised and amazed at what we get to see. Bill M. said to me in the bus; "I think it is the goal of the trip to bring us in new directions." He is so right.

Tel Dan

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.

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I want to introduce you to Bill real quick. He is a rancher, raising beef cattle. He teaches and is involved in politics. He has pastored in his church and just an all around good guy. His wife is Barbara is a teacher as well and they share many of the same passions. Bill and Barb are in their late 60s and they demonstrate the same strength, heart, and desire to learn all of us do on this journey. This is a tour anyone can do!!

Okay, I need to sleep.

May the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob guide you to green pastures and living water.
Shalom!

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