Today was a cold and rainy day here in the Galilee. Thankfully, our group rallied and the damp weather didn’t put a damper on our activities today. We did as much as we could from our itinerary despite the weather challenges. We started the day in Katzrin, a reconstructed first-century village in the Golan Heights. We began our time there by watching a video and getting some teaching from Sahar about the Oral Law (the Mishna and the Talmud).
We then went out to see the reconstructed village in the rain to see a house that resembles the “inn” that Mary and Joseph would have been visiting in Bethlehem. We also learned that the “inn” was actually probably a family member’s home. It was likely that they had many other family members staying with them too, and thus, there was “no room” for them. We also learned that instead of a stable, as we’re used to seeing in Christmas pageants, but a utility or storage room attached to the house that they used to bring the animals into at night. Here’s a picture of Gracen and the reconstructed village:
Our next stop of the day was the Golan Heights Winery. It was great to actually have this site on our itinerary because we were able to see the cask rooms and the bottling lines:
After that, we moved on to the tasting. Don’t worry, the kids had grape juice (made with local grapes!). We tasted a Gamla Riesling, Yarden Merlot, and Mt. Hermon Moscato. Some of us bought a bottle (or four) to drink here or to take home.
We then went to lunch at a Lebanese restaurant in the Golan Heights. Today was John and Griffin’s birthdays, and we had birthday baklava and sang to them:
After lunch, we made a quick stop at Caesarea Philippi, and the Bainass, a rock formation that was used as a place of pagan worship to the god Pan. Jesus used this place to ask His disciples, "Who do you say that I am?" (Matthew 16:13-20):
Our last official stop of the day was the city of Dan. We had to walk the short trail due to the rain and mud, but were still able to see the headwaters of the Jordan River:
We next went and saw the ruins from the city from the Israelite period. We paid special attention to the city gate. Here are Kari, Gracen, Liam, and Caitie standing on the gate:
Then, some of us walked around to the city gate from the Canaanite period, called “Abraham’s gate” because it dates back about 4000 years to the time of Abraham, and it’s Jewish tradition that he actually entered the city through this gate (it has recently been filled in to preserve the gate):
Finally, the most adventurous of the group took a little longer walk to go see the area along the Lebanese border that also was the site of the temple made by Rehoboam to keep the people in his kingdom from going down to Jerusalem in Judah to worship, and this is also where the golden calves were set up and worshipped. Here’s a picture of the border with Lebanon:
As we made our way back to our hotel, we stopped at a local mall, and a few of us got to walk around and experience a very normal part of daily life for those in Israel. And finally, as we made our final approach to the hotel, the Sea of Galilee was FINALLY visible, after all the dust storms and rain we’ve had, this was really our first time seeing the sea. We got back to the hotel and immediately went out to take some pictures before losing the last of the daylight.
One other note about today was that the second and final Kortokrax suitcase made it back! Thank you all for praying and thanks be to God:
We ended the day with David feeling much better and feeling great about our time in Galilee. We’re off tomorrow to start heading south to the Dead Sea, while making a bunch of stops along the way.
Prayer Requests: Please continue to pray for everyone’s health and that our weather would be more pleasant for the rest of the trip. Friday, February 13 – Fourth Day of Touring: Travel Day from the Sea of Galilee to the Dead Sea – Pray specifically for safety today, as we spend most of our day driving through land that belongs to the Palestinian Authority. Pray also for no “snags” at any border crossings. And finally, pray for a fun time floating in the Dead Sea that evening. (Overnight in the Dead Sea)