Friday, January 14, 2011

From Galilee to Jerusalem

Early this morning we saw a 2000 year old fishing boat which was only discovered in 1986 in the Sea of Galilee near Migdal the village of Mary Magdalene. It is called "the Jesus boat" because it was sailing Galilee when Jesus was there. We traveled north through the Jordan Valley to within a mile of the Lebanon border to see Tel Dan. The Dan springs is one of the three tributaries which eventually form the Jordan River. The oldest existing city gate in human history--the 4000 year old Abram's Gate--is there. We also visited one of the other tributaries, the Hermon Springs called Banias, at the Temple of Pan in Caesarea Philippi where Peter confessed Jesus as Lord.

Traveling south along the Syrian border we stopped at the southern tip of the Sea of Galilee at the Jordan River to witness a baptism. Beit'shean was our next stop heading south. It was a major crossroads and the city where the Philistines hung the bodies of Saul and Jonathan after their defeat on nearby Mt. Gilboa. Beit'shean was a major ancient Roman city of 60,000 before being destroyed in the earthquake of 649 CE when Capernaum, Chorazin and other Galilean cities were also ruined. Jesus spoke their fate when He judged them for rejecting Him when He ministered in those cities.

Late in the afternoon we traveled along the border with Jordan through the West Bank into Palestinian Authority territory which governs areas including Jericho and Bethlehem. Our Israeli guide was not allowed to go to Jericho with us where we saw the Mt. of Temptation and a sycamore tree designated as the Zacchaeus Tree. This is a desert environment which contrasts greatly with the fertile Galilean territory we started from this morning.

We ended the day at our hotel in Jerusalem which will be our base of movements for the rest of our visit.

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