Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Ancient Qasrin, Golan Heights, Gamla

Ancient Qasrin
A Talmudic Jewish Village 
with a Typical 1st Century 
Synagogue and Galilean House

Beautiful Mosiac
of Menorah at Entrance 

Remains of Synagogue
Friends from Singapore:  
Wy Ying and Meow Hah 

What the Synagogue would have originally looked like:  

Typical roof similar to what the one would have looked like when the four friends 
removed the roof in order to lower their paralytic friend down to Jesus for healing. 
Discussion about how Jesus always uses the concrete to make a theological point:  
As the friends are dismantling the roof, Jesus begins to dismantle their worldview:  
Not only can He heal...he can also forgive sins.   

 Obviously they were much smaller people! 

 Innovative Ceiling Storage
 Ladder to an Upper Room

 Olive Press that would be turned by two women:  
"One would be taken and one would be left."
 Another type of Olive Press

 And yet another type of Olive Press
which would be turned by animals

Artistic Renderings of Olive Trees 
done by various students

Next Stop:  Golan Heights
 Mt. Hermon

Picture of Damascus -- approximately 40 miles away
Saul would have walked this route

Installation in Golan Heights

All along the right side of the road we see barbed wire that has yellow signs with a red triangle in it posted every so often.  We find out it means "Caution -- Mine Field". This territory was once controlled by Syria until the 1967 war.  The mine fields have never been cleared.  On the other side of the road we pass abandoned Jordanian military barracks.  

Dolmen near GamlaThen we began to notice "Dolmens" all along the way.  When the earth is basalt and too difficult to dig a grave...these are the answer.  They are one large stone on the left, another on the right, another large stone on top of those two to form a roof...and then lots of small stone piled underneath them.  They are a stone house for the dead.  There are literally thousands of them along the road side.  Another reminder that this is much disputed land. 

Next Stop:  Gamla

Gamla means "camel hump"  and that is exactly what the hill looks like.  It is hard to believe that the situation with the Romans was so bad that the observant Jewish people decided to come here to build a village and hold to their faith.  You can see the remains of the synagogue at the lower left-hand side of the hill.  The story is that the Romans came to fight with the Jewish separatists, and when they tried to ride their horses through the village, the streets were so narrow they couldn't, so they began to ride on top of the rooftops as they ascended the hill.  It caused an avalanche...and 5,000 Roman soldiers were swept to their death, and 2,000 Jewish faithful also died.  Because of the difference, Vaspasian was not a happy camper.  He felt like he lost the battle, but would not lose the war!  Masada occurred right after this.  If Gamla had not happened, Masada may never have happened.  Very sad piece of history!  

Gamla; the "Camel's Hump"
with Meow Hah Chia 
Catapult used by Romans
Description of Catapult
Model of the village of Gamla; over 2,000 Jewish separatists lived and worshiped there 
Path to descend to the entrance of Gamla
This picture shows the path that a person would have to descend to get to the base of Gamla.  Then there would be the climb up that "camel's hump" to get to the village of Gamla.  It was very rugged and very steep...I did not attempt it!  I cannot imagine a Roman army deciding to ride their horses down that steep hill!  

Monday, December 31, 2012

Ein Gev -- "The Other Side"


Can you tell the 31st was a "packed" day? I had to break it up into three distinct sections 
in order for it to make sense.  We arose very early and had to have all of our luggage down at the bus by 7:00am, breakfast at 7:15 and then a physically challenging, long day.
The boat ride across the Sea of Galilee was quite restful, and then we were rewarded with this beautiful sunset.  A "sharkia" blew in, however; and the wind actually shrieked through the palm fronds.  I could imagine that same "shrieking" sound greeting the disciples of Christ 
after their storm-tossed trip on the Sea of Galilee.  They really would have thought that they were on "the other side"! 

I have to say that the time in Ein Gev was one of my favorite parts of the trip.  It was out of the hustle and bustle of Jerusalem.  It was in the rolling hills, along the sea, beautiful, green, agricultural...as we drove in to Ein Gev there were fields of banana trees, fig trees, date palms, etc.  

Sunset at Ein Gev Kibbutz 

Kamal Tubas, Our Palestinian Christian Bus Driver 
 Michael Card Leading the Evening Session -- Frank and Holly Benyousky

Dalmanutha Across the Sea of Galilee from Ein Gev

Jesus Boat Exhibit; Crossing the Sea of Galilee

Pictures were not allowed at the Jesus Boat Exhibit, 
so have pulled one from the archaeologists involved 
in the discovery and recovery of the boat.  

There was a three year drought on the Sea of Galilee.  A couple of bothers who were fishermen and lay archaeologists were convinced that they would find something significant off shore.  One day they discovered some nails, and upon digging through the mud, found the remains of a first century boat.  Other archaeologists were brought in and the boat was rescued and a museum has been set up telling the story.  

Key Learning 

There are only eight people who can fit in one of these boats.  The person in the stern would be the one responsible for the rudder.  When the disciples yelled at Jesus, they are upset because He had "fallen asleep on the job" and they are about to drown.  Mark 4:36 states, "The disciples got in boats"...there was not enough room in one boat for all 12.

Boardwalk leading from the Jesus Boat Exhibit to the Dock 
Joint Venture of Palestinian and Jewish Students 

Carved Stones Along the Walkway 

Ship We Passed; 
Similar to the One We Were On

  Bruce and Michael Card

Dr. James C. Martin

Crossing the Sea of Galilee 

 Our Ship

Ron Davis & Karen

Wind and Sea Began to Pick Up
As  We Crossed; 

A windstorm from the east is called a "Sharkia" and usually occurs 
from November to March 

JoAnn and Jeff Attempting to Take an Action Shot of the Group during the Wind Picking Up

 Sunset on Sea of Galilee 

Fishermen on Sea of Galilee

Judean Wilderness, Jericho, and the Jordan River

Our assignment in the Judean Wilderness was to think about our identity in Christ, and then realize that Satan comes to challenge that identity. So, for our time in the Wilderness we were to focus on whatever is in our lives that challenge our true identity in Christ.  In Christ I am:  His daughter; deeply loved; He delights over me; He rejoices over me with singing (Zephaniah 3).  Wilderness Where Christ was tempted:    


 Our Wilderness Experience 
We went off by ourselves for a time and contemplated our identity in Christ

Plant Life in Wilderness

 Old Testament Jericho is the "Tel" in the middle of the picture.  
Interesting that there is nothing built on it...just as the Bible prophesied. 
It was only 8 acres in circumference! 

Bedouin Coffee Shop 
on the Jericho Road.  
Loved the big coffee pot sculpture in the front yard; though the sign was a bit worn.  
"Valley of the Shadow of Death"
Off to the right side of the Jericho Road
Where robbers and thieves would hide to take advantage 
of unsuspecting travelers on the road.   

Sycamore tree on the side of the Jericho Road 

 Actual Roman road that Jesus and disciples would have walked on

Remains of the Hippodrome on the Left

Remains of a Shepherd's Hut

 Dirt Mound is all that is left of Herod the Great's Winter Palace 

After the Jericho Road...
We traveled to the Jordan River 

Dipping My Hand in the Muddy Jordan River

 Looking Across to the Jordanian Side

 Bonnie, Sally, Grace, Glenda, Karen, Jeff and JoAnn

Jordanian Guards

Israeli Guards on the Israeli side of Jordan

Dr. Jim Martin had an interesting thesis on Jesus' Baptism:  It was Christ's Ordination into Ministry.  John the Baptist is the prophet after the likes of Elijah; God's voice is heard, "You are My Beloved; in You I am well-pleased; and the Spirit of God descends in the form of a dove.  Jesus was 30 years old and that was the age of authority in Jewish society.