Saturday, January 18, 2020

Mount Arbel- Israel Pilgrimage

Mount Arbel-
 from Nof Ginnosaur- in the Galilee
(January 2014)
 I have wanted to drive up to the 
top of this mountain ever since then.
Here is the story for this adventure:
Part One.
We have WAZE on the car. 
Amy speaks to us in English,
but you have to add the site in Hebrew.
We got to many places 
that were NOT Mount Arbel.
 We finally arrived at 3:10 pm 
and the guard at the gate said- 
"We are closed."
"But, the webpage said you are open till 4 pm."
"Yes, but that is now for you."
"Come back tomorrow."
 And he took the goats down the road.
 So we went to look at the synagogue.

  We looked at the nearby cliffs,
and thought about the people
 that worshiped here long ago.
 Part Two.
Since we didn't really know 
how we got there the first time, 
we attempted to drop imaginary bread crumbs
 to find it the second time.
We arrived about 10 am and hiked to the top.
 This was my long awaited view of the Sea of Galilee 
from the top of Mount Arbel.
 A peak over the edge.
 "Another" view
And another.
We greeted the lone carob tree at the Carob Lookout-
the last of the many that use to flourish here.
From this lookout on a good day-
 you CAN see the Sea of Galilee, 
the Golan Heights, Mount Hermon 
and the eastern Upper and Lower Galilee.
 So we came down and 
read a bit about the history.

Then we did want anyone does
 to mark the visit in this circumstance.......
 We took photographs of the lovely photos
 in the Visitor Center
of what we would have seen, 
if we could have seen the view.

Thanks Shimi Anav Photography.
A view of a valley on the way back
 down from the mountain-
until we try again someday.

A bit more information:
The Arbel plateau is a basalt highland.
The highest point on the cliff is 
181 meters above Sea Level.
The Nature reserve here is home to 
mountain gazelle, wolves, hyenas,
 badgers, and martens. 
Families of hyrax inhabit the cliffs 
and bats hide there during the day.
The rock crevices are the only place
 on earth for a small snail-
Cristataria genezerethana.
Griffon vultures were identified here
and the cliffs and crevices 
are home to rare plants in the centauria, 
rosularia and galium families. 

Thursday, January 16, 2020

St George's Monastery- Israel Pilgrimage

 Wadi Qelt-
 St George's Monastery
The Monastery of Saints John and George of Choziba
best known as Saint George Monastery in Wadi Qelt
or simply the Monastery of Choziba,
 is a monastery located in Wadi Qelt in the eastern  West Bank,
in  Area C  of the  Palestinian Authority territories. 
The cliff-hanging complex, which emerged from a larva 
established in the 420s
and reorganized as a monastery around AD 500,
with its ancient chapel and irrigated gardens,
is active and inhabited by  Greek Orthodox  monks.
It is reached by a pedestrian bridge across Wadi Qelt,
which many believe to be  Psalm 23's
"valley of the shadow of death".
The valley parallels the old Roman road to Jericho,
the backdrop for the parable of the Good Samaritan- Luke 10
 The monastery is open to pilgrims and visitors.

Established during the Byzantine period,
it was destroyed by the Persians in AD 614,
rebuilt in the 12th century during the Crusader period,
abandoned after their defeat, and rebuilt again by Greek monks
starting at the end of the 19th century.
The site is associated with the lives of  Elijah
 and that of the parents of the Virgin Mary,
and holds the relics of three Eastern Orthodox saints,
making it a site of intense pilgrimage.
 A great view point- you can hear the
 stream of water running down 
the mountain side to this oasis in the desert.
 We decided to walk down a little bit.
Then we had many bedouin helpers.

Actually - you just keep going.. 
around the next bend.....
and the next....

My donkey back up was Lila
 and my helper was Nehal.

St. George Monastery

As we could hear the water 
running down the mountain side
 we sat and read Psalm 42 - 
1As the deer pants for streams of water,
    so my soul pants for you, my God.
 2My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.

    When can I go and meet with God?...

and this makes me think also of-
Isaiah 35:6
"then shall the lame man leap like a deer,
    and the tongue of the mute sing for joy.
For waters break forth in the wilderness,
    and streams in the desert"

The blessings of the Lord 
abound in the desert time also.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Tel Jezreel- Israel Pilgrimage

                       The fortress that King Ahab built at Tel Jezebel
 played vital economic, military and defensive roles 
for the Northen Kingdom that he ruled.  
Here we see played out the story of 
Ahab, Jezebel and their worship of Baal.

Maps will spell this site as Yizre'el.
 The day we were there was overcast and openings 
in the clouds played with the landscape below-
lighting up pockets of rich farm land.
 Somewhere in this area is the adjacent vineyard
 of Naboth the Jezreelite that becomes 
the central focus for the Old Testament connections.
We know that it is the location of the water
 that meshes with the geography 
to help us find the locations for the Biblical sites.
Where the water is--
 helps us to see where the vineyard might have been.
This site is not a National Park -
so no signs of explanation.
This route was important to Ahab
 because of his marriage
 to the Phoenician princess Jezebel.
This cemented his plan to redirect 
the trade off the King's Highway 
that was east of the Jordan River valley
 so that it moved through his territory
 on the way to world markets 
via Phoenicia to the north.
This didn't sit well with Aram,
 who collected the taxes moving 
through his territory in Damascus.
A battle ensued and Ahab died
 in the battle with Aram
 at Ramoth Gilead in 853 BC.
1 Kings 1:29-38
The bottle neck that was here 
created the perfect tax collection site.
The remains are still pretty primitive
 as far as an archeological dig here.
So far they have found a 20 foot deep dry moat
 that surrounds a walled fortress 
with 4 defensive tours.
(not sure that we even found that) 
The site is about 10 acres in size.
 The readings for this site include :
Royal Arrogance and the Abuse of Power
1 Kings 21:1-18
Joram and Jehu
2 Kings 9:1-10
Death of Joram
2 Kings 9:14-26
Death of Jezebel
2 Kings 9:30-36

God's divine justice may seem so slow
 in our arrangement of time.
Both Joram (Ahab's son) and Jezebel
met up with Naboth's vineyard at the end of their life.
Joram's body was thrown there
  and the dogs dragged Jezebel's body there. 
Elijah was the prophet that foretold 
the doom to Ahab and his family
 for the treatment of Naboth.
(He had already met up with the wrath
 of Jezebel with the killing 
of the prophets of Baal at Mount Carmel.)
A significant teaching
 is the evaluation of a king's life.
Did they "do right in the Lord's eye"? 
God demands our loyalty and still condemns
"Doing right in the Lord's eye" is still a 
measure of how we live out our own lives today.
One last look across the valley-
 and we decided that maybe a city set on a hill-
 is not just for the way the lights shine at night-
 but also for the way the sunlight hits the buildings.
(This is Afula)

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Jordan River- Israel Pilgrimage

 Baptism of our Lord- 
Sat here for a bit today.
Thinking about the gift of Baptism.
My own baptism.

The public ministry of Jesus
 began after His baptism.
At the Yardenit site
 On Jan 1, 2020 we were also 
at Bethany Beyond the Jordan- 
in the desert area near Jericho.

Worship into the Week-
Matthew 3:13:17
A very blessed time 
for some journaling today-
right at the Jordan River.
Enduring Word Bible #60

Visual Faith Ministry printable
Junk mail
Magazine cutouts 
Colored Pencils
Faber-Castell PITT pen- Brown