Recently, Amy went to Israel with others from New Life and we thought it’d be fun to share some of her thoughts. Her adventures will be recounted in a series of days as she did such a great job capturing what she experienced that we didn’t want to edit anything out. As your read her experiences we would love for people to consider going on a future trip. In fact, we’re currently considering a trip next May if we can work out the logistics and if there is enough interest. If you want to go click here to let us know. You can read Part 1 here.
Day 5 was all about the northern region of Israel as we started our day with an hour drive from Tiberius up to the ancient city of Tel Dan (previously named Laish in Judges 18:7 or Leshem in Joshua 19:47) at the base of Mt. Hermon. The ancient Israelites conquered the city after entering the Promised Land and renamed it Dan. For those who don’t know what a Tel is, it’s an artificial mound formed from the accumulated refuse (or artifacts) of people living on the same site for hundreds or thousands of years. The site has a temple with a holy place and a most holy place still visible. The adobe “castle like” gate was probably the coolest and strangest thing discovered there!
Then it was off to Panias/Caesarea Philippi in the Golan Heights. Panias, the “birthplace of the Jordan River” was a pagan religious site in ancient times named for Pan, the Greek Goat God. Here, Herod the Great built a temple right into the mouth of the cave where they sacrificed goats and threw them into the water that used to rush out of the cave. If the cave spit out the goats, Pan did not accept the sacrifice. His son Herod Philip inherited the area, renamed it Caesarea Philippi. Here, Jesus asked Peter “Who do you say that I am?” (Matthew 16:13) Consequently, the mouth of that cave was also referred to the Mouth of Hades.
After a Druze (ethnic group) lunch which was really good, it was back down to the Galilee area. First we stopped at an old military bridge to get a quick glimpse at the Jordan River (which we will be IN tomorrow) and then we stopped at a place called The Primacy of Peter. My Catholic homies will appreciate that this Roman Catholic place is dedicated to their First Pope and celebrates Peter’s forgiveness and elevation of status by Jesus (John 21:15-25). At this site, we were able to walk down to the shore and get in the waters of the Sea of Galilee.
Our final thing for the day was to board a boat for a sail out to the middle of the Sea of Galilee. It was pretty emotional to think Jesus was actually there at one point. I was just closing my eyes and imaging the disciples in the boat and Jesus just walking out to them. Incredible.
Stay tuned. Tomorrow we will have some baptisms happening in the Jordan, and we’ll be visiting Jericho, Qumran, and then as we arrive in Jerusalem, the Mount of Olives and the Garden of Gethsemane.
Thanks for sticking with me!