Today we packed up our bags from the hotel we were staying at in the Galilee, and began the journey south. We drove through Cana of Galilee, where Jesus turned the water into wine – His first miraculous act as Messiah. This trip meant we spent some time stuck in traffic, as the morning rush hour of cars and trucks made it’s way to Nazareth for the work week. We hardly noticed, however, since our guide entertained us with a CD of Johnny Cash singing his famous song, “He Turned the Water into Wine.” 🙂 Instead of turning for Nazareth, however, we turned to Zippori, where we took in the sights of the national park there. We looked at the Mona Lisa of Israel, done in beautiful mosaic on a floor dating from the Roman period.
From Zippori, we travelled to Nazareth, where we visited the Nazareth Village. Nazareth Village is a recreation of life from the time of Jesus, where people dress in period costume and perform tasks that would have been done in the first century. You can see from the pictures that we actually had animals of a wide variety walking among the group!
After a wonderful hour or so at Nazareth village, we boarded the bus and made it to Bet Shean just in time for lunch. I’ll say more about the food in a later blog post, but I had chicken schnitzel, while others tried falafel. After lunch we began the tour which includes the most amazing ruins in all of Israel. As you can see from the pictures, we all had a little fun too! Pastor Henderson and Pastor Crossman hiked to the top of the Tel, to see the view from the top. Us less adventurous folks stayed with our feet firmly planted in the ruins below. It was in Bet Shean that Saul and his sons were hanged after they were killed in battle – as a means of public humiliation and shaming.
We then drove straight South, through the West Bank, along the Jordan River valley on our way to Jerusalem. We looked over into the mountains of Gilead (pronounced Gil-ad in Hebrew), when someone mentioned the song “There is a Balm in Gilead.” We thought the better of singing the song however, given our location next to Jordan, travelling through the West Bank, since the song could be misheard to sound like “There is a Bomb in Gilead.” One has to be sensitive to such things!
We stopped at a rest stop just outside Jericho, as we turned almost due west and ascended to the Holy City! As two familiar songs about Jerusalem played on the bus we took in the sights of the semi-barren hills, the Bedouin encampments and the Shepherd’s watching their sheep.
We stopped atop Mount Scopus shortly after 4:00pm, and raised a glass of grape juice in thanks to God for bringing us safely to this great city. The excitement of the group was palpable as we boarded our bus and drove to the Crowne Plaza Hotel for the night.
As I close, I want to send out a special “Hello from Israel” to Mrs. Pam Banks Sunday School class at Sackville Independent Baptist Church. I understand some of them have been following the blog (or at least looking at the pictures), and I want to assure them we have looked after their Sunday School teacher and intend to return her to them safely! On the other hand, we have enjoyed her so much we may just keep her with us when we return home!
I’m also glad to report that we are all well. I have a video of Isaac Burrill singing, which you can view in the blog, and there will be more to come!
Thanks for reading…and you can try today’s “Hebrew Word of the Day” Mishpekah. It means family – and we miss all our families…wherever you are! C-you in a few more days.
Shalom from the Holy City!