Woke up this day a little more tired than other days. I assume it’s from the jet lag. Or maybe it could have been from my frustrations trying all last night to get my day 4 post updated and getting angry with the internet (poor at best in the rooms) . Oh well. I finally gave up on that and went to sleep. We got to slurp in just a bit longer this morning but the coffee makers were not working this morning. … Nooooooooooooo!!! Finally was able to get a cup though. … phew., that was a close call!
I have to show you the shot that one of our group members took of the sunrise and texted to me yesterday. ..
Sea of Galilee (Tiberias)
This morning at 9am, we boarded a small boat and took a 45 minute relaxing cruise on the Sea of Galilee. A brief scripture reading and devotional on board brings to life the experiences of Jesus and the fishermen disciples. The sea was so calm… I just didn’t want to leave. I just wanted to stay out on the water and take in all the scenery and the amazing history of what happened around this area. No words could describe how I felt there. To be honest, there is a mountain just north of Tiberias that I couldn’t take my eyes off of for some reason. The name of it is Mount Arbel. I was just captivated by it. Maybe it was because it looked so untouched by modern things that it caused me to think how the area might have looked when Jesus walked around this very area.
Magdala, home town of Mary Magdalene is where they have a recent excavation of the First Century Synagogue and well-preserved village. This makes Magdala one of the most interesting newly uncovered Biblical sites in Israel.
Ancient Fishing Boat
Next we went to see an excavated fishing boat that they have successfully dated to the first century. It was painstakingly excavated and preserved and look so amazing! If you ever get a chance to read up on it, you will be fascinated with the story of how they excavated this fishing boat.
We visited the Jordan River Baptism Site and one of our tour members decided to get baptized. Here are some pictures of the area. The river really is so beautiful and peaceful.
Next we traveled southward to Beit-Shean/Scythopolis, the most magnificent archeological site in Israel, located at the strategic juncture of the Jezreel and Jordan valleys. Like Jericho, it has been almost continuously occupied throughout history. After defeating Saul and his sons on Mt. Gilboa, the Philistines hanged their bodies on the walls of Beit-Shean. During the time of Jesus, Scythopolis was one of the chief cities of the Decapolis – a league of ten cities sharing Greek culture and government. This really was amazing to see first hand.
The main road:
Here is a cool invention they used to move the large cut rocks around:
On the way to the Dead Sea
On the way to the Dead Sea, we followed the fertile Jordan Valley southward. Our guide pointed out the agricultural restoration of the “Land of Milk and Honey” and Israel’s intricate irrigation development. It was fascinating. “Interestingly”, we came up to a check point as she informed us that it was a check point for us as we entered the West Bank, which is an interesting area but “not so bad” if you stay on the road. Lol. We all got through it just fine, but it was interesting as we were only get from the once volatile border of Jordan. The further south we went, we could tell we were getting more into the desert area.
Tomorrow morning, we are getting up early (in about 6 hours actually) so we can go a float in the Dead Sea! I am tired and need sleep, but I wanted to get you guys all caught up on our adventure so far. Talk to you guys soon (hope the internet is good in Jerusalem which is where we are staying for the next for nights. If not, I will update you as I am able to. Take care! Shalom!