Saturday….Golan Heights

Finally I sleep. I caved and took a whole Benedryl even though they reportedly will give me Alzheimer’s and wake up only when the heater went on and off. I feel much better.

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We both are awake by 5 so we walk down to the Sea of Galilee and watch the magnificent sunrise. Today promises to be warm and sunny. The sky is clear and the view much better than yesterday. Here and there along the shore people are sitting on rocks or standing alone. Many of them are reading or praying. Just a few…it’s easy to find a quiet spot.

 

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At 6:30 we join the others in our group for a morning worship service out on the pier. It’s pretty cool in the early morning and Dwayne wonders how cold Jesus must have gotten when he went up into one of these mountains at night to pray.

Breakfast is the usual spread of many cheeses, fruits, salads, and eggs. This morning they also have a plates made up of hummus, some kind of white sauce, beans, spices and herbs. I add some saurcraut that is sitting nearby to mine and it is absolutely delicious.

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Golan Heights~ A 50 mile range of mountains which connect to Mt Hermon. Assume all of you know the history here and the strategic importance of this area. Lloyd tells us stories from his first trips to this country, when some of their guides had actually participated in the 6 day war. He shares accounts of miracles that happened….some very similar to old testament miracles, such as clouds suddenly blocking the enemies view.

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On the way up the mountains we see the snow capped peaks of majestic Mt. Hermon.  This mountain sits at the junction of Syria, Israel, and Lebanon and is highly valued as a source of water. I would have thought it was clouds if Nibeal hadn’t pointed it out to us.

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We all load up onto jeeps and go exploring!  I had no idea it was so beautiful on the Golan Heights this time of year. We see donkeys, cows, egrets, and even a partridge in a pear tree!

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Today is a day we hear more recent history and get an understanding of the springs up here that provide 38% of Israel’s water supply.

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We don’t stand on the Jordan River’s stormy banks but we do cross it a couple of times. 🙂

The highway leading to Damascus is within sight.   In ancient days, these Golan Heights were on the route from Damascus to the sea ports on the Mediterranean.  Paul would have journeyed here as he went from Damascus to Galilee.

Our jeep stops at a fort where the crusaders fought the muslims and we drive through an area that was part of Syria until 1973. The cows have cleared most of the land mines by now but there are still many warning signs.

After 2 hours, our jeep ride ends…we have a little mud on us but we don’t care. I mean, how often do you get a chance to get Golan Heights mud on you???

Back on the bus, we head north. We drive by an area where there are archeological finds from King Solomon’s day but we don’t stop. This part of Israel is very green right now and there is much agriculture. Buzzing past our windows are all manner of fruit and nut trees. There are palm trees and greenhouses, pine and eucalyptus trees. Such a variety. I’ve also noticed the songbirds. Beautiful and so many different ones.

Lunch is a quick stop and Dwayne and opt to skip it. We sit in the sun and rest.

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Ceaserea Philippi ~ By Jesus time, this was a Roman town and is one of the 3 water sources for the Jordan River. Here, they worshiped a God called Pan, the root of the word panic. This god was believed to be 1/2 goat and 1/2 man. We are 40 miles from the Sea of Galilee and it’s interesting to think that Jesus walked that far, to this pagan town, so that He could give His disciples a visual of what He was about to tell them.

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The Rock is enormous and the cave you see in the picture is where the people would throw an infant as a sacrifice to their god. If the water that ran red with blood, the sacrifice was not acceptable and they would have to do another.

 

Those poor, dear mamas…

 

The disciples had just seen some exciting events and Jesus wants to know…”Who do *you* say that I am?” Then He tells Peter…”upon this rock I will build  my church and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it”. It’s a powerful statement and interesting to think how Jesus courageously said this right here in what was very much Satan’s domain.

 

Tel Dan ~ This is 2nd source of Jordan.  Settled in 2000 BC, you can read of the city of Dan in Judges 18:1-2, Judges 8:27, and Joshua 19:47 ( I *think*) Also 1King 12:28-29…where Jereboham made the idol of golden calves. We see all kinds of remains here…the gates to the city, the city itself.

 

Nabil shows me how to tell original stones from those which are reconstructed and I feel a bit better about all this archeological stuff. I am way too skeptical, I guess 🙂

 

On up above the remains of Dan, we climb up onto some stones and look across the valley into Lebanon. Pretty cool. I’ve almost been to Lebanon.

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Last stop ~ a few feet away they have discovered much older gates to an older Dan…the one mentioned in Genesis 14:14. These would be 5000 years old and from the time of Abraham.  This gate has survived to it’s full height.

Seeing the two time periods of Dan leads to interesting discussion. Obviously Gen 14 happened long before Jacob named his son Dan. So there are two possible explanations. One is that  the city of Abraham’s time happened to be named Dan and then….the man, Dan, came to live in it later after it was given him in the division of the land among the 12 tribes. OR. The Old Testament writers just used that name in Gen 14 as a way of describing the location Abram ran to, knowing we readers would understand.  Oh boy. Never mind. Too much to explain.

I like these places this afternoon because no huge church’s have been built around them. They are now set in nature preserves that are beautiful to walk through.

I’m trying to “feel this” but my brain is so busy thinking and my feet are so busy walking that I honestly don’t feel as much as I’d like. My quiet time down my the Sea this morning was good.I think maybe a trip like this needs a day in the middle for rest, reading and reflection.

Random pics….

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Galen has a super handy place to keep his Bible…

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Taken at Tel Dan. I think.

 

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