Thursday, April 30, 2015

Israel // Day Six

Day Six was our last day by the Sea of Galilee (I could have stayed there forever). On this beautiful Sunday morning, we had a sunrise service by the Sea before our departure.

First stop: Gideon's Spring at En Harod. Here, God had Gideon narrow down his army to 300 men before leading the Israelites into a victory over tens of thousands of Midianites.

Beth Shean

This is one of the oldest cities in Israel. Here, the Philistines hung the bodies of Saul and his sons after defeating the Israelites on Mount Gilboa. It became a Greek city and was renamed Scythopolis. The Romans expanded the city and those are the ruins that can be seen now.

The theatre. Only one third of the seat remain - there would have been more rows going back even farther and higher.
*nerd moment* The seats were made of white stone to keep them cool while the people were sitting there. This was the warmest day so far, so we greatly appreciated this aspect of Roman architecture.

Roman toilets. There would have been running water underneath the seats to wash everything away and another channel full of moving water to wash your hands. Only men would have used these. Again, the white stone was used to keep them cool.

This is a reproduction of the Isaiah scroll from the Dead Sea scrolls. This find showed that Isaiah was written as one whole book, not divided up and written by different authors as some modern scholars believe it was.

These are the ruins of the Essene community called Qumran where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found. This small community only housed 150 people at a time, and they were dedicated to studying the Scriptures and keeping themselves "pure" from the world (similar to monks and nuns). This little village is located in the mountains in the Rift/Jordan Valley near the Dead Sea.

This is called a mikveh, a ritual bath. In Judaism, cleansing yourself in a ritual bath shows the inner purity of your heart and allows you to participate in activities forbidden to those who are considered unclean by the Mosaic law.

This is the opening in the cave where the first Dead Sea Scrolls were found. This hole was opened up after the discovery of the scrolls.

The Dead Sea! We did go swimming in it, but I didn't get any pictures of that. It was so cool. As soon as the water got past my knees, it was harder to keep my legs down, and once we started floating it was hard to stand up again.

The view from our hotel balcony.

Journal excerpt:

As several of us were talking last night, one of the girls spoke about how she had expected some sort of spiritual feeling to come to her, but it hadn't, and a lot of us felt the same way. It is so easy to think that some type of feeling will come just from being in "the land of the Bible". Later, our professor talked about how he had expected that the first time he came to Israel, but it didn't happen. He assured us that all we have seen and learned will blossom over time and have a lasting impact.

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