High Points from Israel
We spent four days in Jordan and nine in Israel. It would be too much to try to blog about everything in Israel. Let’s just say, I came back very educated on the area. Really understanding the history which is saying a lot since I don’t like history, at least I did not in school. But this was very interesting to see the history. Especially places like Bet She’An— where there is a hill that they have discovered 15 civilizations built one on top of another.
That is how a lot of the sites were in Israel, somethings historically significant took place. A lot of times the Romans built something on top of it. Then Constantine’s mother, Helena, interviewed many generations of locals to learn where these sacred events most likely happened and then built churches on top of the sites—to mark and preserve them. They were destroyed by invaders or the great earthquake of A.D. 749. Byzantines sought to rebuild them. Oftentimes—more invasions, etc....Nowadays other Christian sects (like the Catholics) have tried to restore the churches to the best of their abilities and now several denominations “own” the buildings that house significant sights. (It was not uncommon to see a church building with three or more different chapels—each a different Christian denomination).
And in many cases, such sites were also significant for various reasons to the Jewish and Muslim faiths. And now you can see why there is a perfect religious storm brewing in Israel/Palestine!
Our local Palestinian guide, Faris, was so knowledgeable about historic and current religious and political events—this was invaluable! Our spiritual guide as well, Jack, was not only a scriptorian, but also had studied extensively the traditions of the region and was very educated about the customs of Old and New Testament times. I have pages and pages of notes from the treasures that they shared.
They would often refer to different places as site A, B, or C. Site C meant that traditionally people believed an event happened here. Site B meant that there was significant historical evidence that an event happened here. And site A meant that the evidence pointed that it most definitely happened here.
I definitely felt the spirit more at Site A’s.
-Mt. Nebo (in Jordan, not Israel)
This is the site where Moses was led by God and shown the promised land. Unfortunately it was hazy and we were unable to see much from the peak.
-Migdal-Eder, shepherds field
The special flock of sheep reserved for sacrifices at the temple—and those shepherds—were the ones that witnessed the angels’ glorious proclamation of Jesus’s birth. Though the area around the field is building and city dinginess, I knew what had happened here.
-Valley of Doves
At Jesus’s time this was the route from Nazareth to Cana and Magdela. How humbling for me to walk a path he walked...
-Sea of Galilea
We spent time on the shores of Galilea, as well as on a boat on the sea (which is a lake, really). It was so touching to spend time where my Savior calmed the sea, walked on water, and taught priceless lessons to his apostles and disciples...
We sang and danced on the boat. Not what I expected but it was so fun!
-Synagogue of Magdala
The city of Magdala is right on the shores of Galilea and was a major hub for fishing and commerce during Jesus’s time. All religious men would enter the synagogue—including Jesus! The story of the recent rediscovery and careful excavation of the synagogue was beautiful and divinely-inspired...
(Continued on next post...)
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