To read about our trip from the beginning, start here.
Ever since arriving in Tiberias, and in our first 2 days of touring, the Sea of Galilee created a sublime backdrop. The hills along the far shore were mysteriously cloaked in a veil of mist. This morning was no different, and the water was as smooth as glass.
We set out for a boat ride in 2 boats tethered together so that our entire group of 200+ had room. Our family was last to board, but we ended up getting the best seats! Once we reached the middle of the lake, Pastor Jeffress shared the story of when Jesus calmed the storm in Matthew 8:23-27. He talked about how storms in our lives are natural, God is aware of them, He will use them to grow us, and He will deliver us through them.
Before heading back to shore, the boats split up, and we asked our boat drivers to teach us an Israeli dance! See the video here.
We spent the rest of the day in the far north of Israel in the Golan Heights. Our first stop was to Caesarea Philippi. This area was originally settled by the Greeks, but after the Romans conquered, King Herod built a temple here, and passed it along to his son Herod Phillip. It was near here that Peter declared Jesus as the Messiah in Matthew 16:13-20. Pastor Jeffress also spoke here about Peter’s confession and Jesus’ command to surrender to God, sacrifice daily what you want for what God wants, and obey Him. I wish we had more time to spend here, as the area is beautifully nestled in the hills. We visited the nature preserve, but where only able to see the caves and waterfall from afar, before we had to “chick chock” on to the next stop. (“chick chock” means hurry up – it was our guide’s favorite phrase!)
Next, we traveled to Tel Dan. On the way, we passed by fields with caution signs all along the fences. Our guide Ron told us that the Syrians left land mines in this area after the Syrian war, but didn’t ever collect them. The funniest thing, though, was the cows grazing along happy as could be! Ron said the cows not only help find the mines, but are quite tasty when they do find a mine haha
Tel Dan is one of the northernmost cities in Israel. Oftentimes, the land of Israel will be referred to as “from Dan to Beersheva” in the Bible. This is where the tribe of Dan settled after they were unable to claim the land they were allotted further south. It sits along the River Dan, which flows into the Sea of Galilee. An interesting archaeological find here was an arch from over 4,000 years ago, which predates when the Romans claimed to have invented the arch. We visited the ruins of the gate to the city from the time of Ahab. Our guide explained to us that there would have been a wooden gate covering the entrance that would be closed at night. If you were accidentally outside the gate when it closed, they had a little crawl hole that one person could fit through to get into the city. They called it “the eye of the needle”! One of the most interesting findings (in my opinion) was the pedestal by the gate where the king would sit and hold court. Some of the major Bible stories that occurred here are Genesis 14:13-16 Moses travelled here to rescue Lot from Kedorlaomer, 1 Kings 12:26-33 Jeroboam (1st king of the northern kingdom) set up idols here to prevent the people from returning to Jerusalem, Jeremiah 4:15, 8:15-16 this is the gateway through which Judah’s enemies pass through on the way to Jerusalem.
We had lunch at a kibuts in their hotel. A kibuts is a group of people that live together in unity in order to share the work and also share protection. They are all modernizing, but they were originally extremely useful as they Jews were coming back to take over the land, but needed protection and couldn’t work the land alone to provide enough sustenance. They would all share the work, share any profits, and provide protection for each other. Now, they are expanding to grow more produce to sell, create attractions or hotels for visitors, and allow people to work off of the kibuts (but their income goes back into the group pot). They also will pay for the children to have the best education, and they have time to decide if they will stay on the kibuts after graduation or if they will move out.
After lunch, we had a really moving afternoon when over 60 people were baptized in the Jordan River! Mom and I marveled over remembering when Jesus was baptized, and God’s voice came down from Heaven saying, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” Matthew 3:13-17.
And that was the end of the third day! To be continued…
Read about Day 4 here.