ISRAEL PILGRIMAGE –SU- 21 November 2010
Sunday morning worship service on the Galilee southern shore. Jim Parker was our preacher.
Kursi the place of the demoniac was our first stop. It was a beautiful drive around the east side of the Sea of Galilee. We pointed out one of the towns of the Decapolis, Hippos, which is very near En Gev Kibbutz. We stayed at En Gev several times before we discovered Maagan. Kursi was a Byzantine monastery that ended in 631AD when the Ottomans invaded and conquered Palestine. Dr. Butler led our devotionals.
Our driver, Avner took us north to Tel Dan via the Hula Valley. Today we were going to go all over northern Israel and the Golan on back roads. I love taking the back roads and Avner was willing to travel through the back country in his 52 passenger bus. The Israelis have done a wonderful job in dealing with the Hula Valley. They are in the process of transforming a swamp into fish farms, arable farmland, cattle ranches, bird sanctuaries and a host of other activities.
Tel Dan is an exciting archaeological site. A lengthy nature walk alongside rushing waters, The horned altar from the Northern Kingdom, the Abraham Gate that dates back to ancient Laish and the time Abraham chased Chedorlaomer and got Lot back. This arched doorway dates back more than 3,800 years. Stan Watts led our devotional. He illustrated the importance of living the Christian life all the time instead of just at those times that it was convenient. He shared how a good water source made for healthy vegetation. If we live our life as a fire engine, only watering the vegetation when it was dying we wouldn’t have strong, solid growth.
Caesarea Philippi was our next stop. This place of Pan worship was an evil place. The place where all of the worship took place was accurately called the “Gates of Hell.” Dr. Harvey led our devotional. Dr. Duke’s students did a practicum related to the Biblical era at Caesarea Philippi. Lunch was at the restaurant next door to Caesarea Philippi.
Our return trip included a Ben Tal and Café in the Clouds, backroads of the Golan, locating and identifying the major Kibbutz on the Golan, the development of the Golan since it came into Israeli hands and other related Golan history. It is a beautiful, industrious area of Israel. It would be sad indeed for it to leave Israeli control.
Dr. Dukes continued his Bible Study series on Encounters with Jesus in the Gospel of John. This is an outstanding series and enjoyed by all of us.