As you read these words we are arriving on a trans-Atlantic flight from Tel-Aviv back to New York City.
It’s been an incredible 12 days. Renewing old friendships. Making new friends. Visiting sites that we’ve read about all of our lives. But now seeing those places and events come alive in a unique way. Someone once said it’s like reading the Bible in color instead of black and white. Continue reading
Yesterday we traded the hustle and bustle of Jerusalem for the serene and scenic lowlands and valleys.
We saw wheat, barley, and hay fields. Grape vineyards. Shepherds leading their sheep. Camels in the fields. And much of the territory in which the Philistines lived in Bible times. Including the valley in which they returned the ark of the covenant (1 Sam. 6). Continue reading
Yesterday we took a walking tour of Old Jerusalem. What a fascinating mixture of sights, sounds, and even smells.
It’s also a composite of Christian, Jewish and Muslim culture, heritage and religious belief. Surrounded by ancient walls, it’s home to such ancient sites as the Islamic shrine, Dome of the Rock, also called the Golden Dome, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, which dates back to the 4th century and the Western Wall. Continue reading
A typical day for this tour has been a wake-up call at 6:30 AM. Breakfast at 7:00. Board the bus at 8:00. A lunch break around 12:00 or 1:00. And back at the hotel around 5:00. After a hot shower, a little rest and a buffet dinner, we’re usually ready to call it an evening. Yesterday was no exception. Continue reading
After a delicious buffet breakfast at the David Hotel and Spa we said goodbye to the Dead Sea and began our trek back North.
It was a short drive to Masada, where Herod the Great built one of his Palaces in 30 B.C. Around 68 A.D. a group of Jewish zealots conquered it and Masada became their last stronghold before the Romans besieged it. Rather than fall captive to the Romans they committed suicide and left behind what has become a “saga of courage, heroism, and martyrdom.” Continue reading
Yesterday we left our lovely little hotel in Tiberius on the Sea of Galilee and drove South toward the Dead Sea.
Among the highlights of the day were stops at Jezerel, the site of Ahab’s palace and Naboth’s vineyard. Jericho, the first city conquered by Joshua during the conquest of Canaan and billed as the world’s oldest city. Seeing the traditional site of Jesus’ baptism. And ending the day by floating on the Dead (Salt) Sea. Continue reading
We are enjoying this little family-owned hotel, The Ron Beach, right on the Sea of Galilee in Tiberias. A convenient location. Good food. And great views.
Yesterday we were able to walk to their dock behind the hotel and board a boat for a ride across the Sea of Galilee. I’ve been on a lot of boat rides in my life. But this just wasn’t any boat ride. It’s the Sea were the apostles fished. Where Jesus called Simon and Andrew (Mk 1:16). Where Jesus walked on the water. And where he calmed the storm. Continue reading
Among yesterday’s highlights of our second full day of touring the Bible lands was visiting sites on the North side of the Sea of Galilee.
We began at Hazor which Joshua conquered during the conquest of Canaan and burned the city (Josh 11:13). It is mentioned several other times in the Old Testament.
Dan was a fascinating stop where Jeroboam, the first King of the Northern Tribes of Israel, set up an altar and built a calf for the people to worship (1 Kings 12:29-30). Continue reading
After a very short night in the resort town of Netanya, we began in earnest our first full day of seeing the “land of promise.”
Our first stop was Caesarea Maritima, where the gospel was first preached to the Gentiles by the apostle Peter. The Roman Centurion Cornelius lived there and was the first Gentile convert. (Ax 10). We also saw the amphitheater. The site of Herod the Great’s Mediterranean palace. And the place where Herod Agrippa I was stricken dead by the Lord (Ax. 12). Continue reading