Friday, November 25, 2011

Day 4 of Touring in the Holy Land

Wow, what a time we've been having on our tour of the Holy Land. Each day is so full of new adventures and even though I've been here 3 times now, there's so much to take in. Everything is seen through new eyes because of the different people that are on the tour with me. There's also the different Bible studies that I go through in each season that bring a new growth in my Christian walk that open my eyes to the Scriptures in a new way so that when I do come back here, I'm seeing through a newer lens each time. What a journey it's been!

This day started with driving to the old city of Zippori where there are may ruins from the Roman time. The synagogue that was there had all the Jewish symbols and stories on the mosaic floor but then smack dab in the middle was the sign of the Zodiac. Now how mixed up is that? Already back then, the things of the world were infiltrating the church which is no different than today. Where's the line of mixing the things of the world into the symbols/traditions/teachings of the church? So it was a good lesson that we had today right at the beginning of the day.

A definite favorite spot today was our journey through the Old Nazareth Village. That was an emotional time for many of us. Stepping across the doorway brought us back 2,000 years right back to the time of Jesus. My heart soared and flowed to overflowing while we walked the pathway past people dressed in Bible times and the sheep in their pens, seeing the olive trees and old clay jars, entering the house of a carpenter and seeing him working with his tools just like Joseph and Jesus would have, watching Hannah weave her wool into a blanket, seeing the stone walls of the homes, and then sitting in the synagogue with an old scroll and oil lamp on a small table in the front.oh my, my it was like we were right there alongside the people of that day. I just can't get over how real everything felt and the atmosphere was just so sureal!!  Thank you God that we can share this amazing experience together!

The visit that we had last night with Ibtisam at our hotel made being here at the Old Nazareth Village real personal. Ibtisam's husband is the Pastor at a Baptist Church in Nazareth. They are also ministering in a Baptist College in Nazareth. Their work is so important here!!  Their church is associated with the gift shop at the village and members of the church work in it as well. The founders of the Nazareth Village are also members of the Baptist congregation. A few of us on the tour are from a Mennonite background so meeting this couple last night who are from a Baptist congregation was real special. Whether we are from a Baptist background or not, it again reminded us how we need to pray for our brothers and sisters in Christ across the world. Oh, I so love the personal aspects this tour has brought to us. Thank You God!

After a good lunch in Nazareth and driving through it's busy streets, we made our way to Hamat Gadar - the popular Hot Springs of the Jordan/Galilee area. The road that took us there ran along the Jordan/Israel border and it was a ride full of quite beautiful scenery. The water was wonderfully warm/hot but not too hot, other than the Hot pool. It was a neat experience being here, imagining the ancient Roman baths they had years ago. I am thankful for my own bathtub and shower at home. Not everyone has the privilege of having those luxuries, especially in the older days. The hot pool had a stone/pebble bottom that kinda hurt my feet but felt good at the same time cause they were so warm. This place also had an alligator farm and a petting zoo of different types of animals and many types of parrots. It was nice to be there. Another new experience in the land of Israel.

Tonight was our last night at the Kibbutz Nof Ginosar here at the Sea of Galilee. I sure enjoyed the quietness of the area, away from the busy city of Tiberius. Watching the twinkling lights of the city and the surrounding communities along the Sea of Galilee at night was delightful. The sunrises and sunsets were gorgeous and I'm thankful for the pictures I could take.

In the morning we needed to leave 1/2 hour earlier than usual.....yes we had to be on the bus by 7:30 am to be on the road in order to get all our stops in, so it was off to bed earlier.
So glad you're journeying along together with us. It is so encouraging to everyone in the group to hear your comments and hearing about your enjoyment of seeing us in the photos. Even though it's not always easy updating the blog each day, it's so worth it when I hear feedback from the ladies family and friends that they love seeing them in photos and reading about their day. It brings tears to my eyes, this world is so small and technology is simply amazing at times. I know what a blessing this blog with photos each day is to some of you and that is why I am writing this. It is so cool that you can be reading this close to the end of your day while we are already asleep. :) That is just SO cool! I am honored, my fellow readers, to have you join us in this personal journey. Thank you for your prayers and encouragement! Love you all!

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