Wednesday June 7

On Wednesday we walked through Hezekiah’s tunnel. It takes about 45 minutes to go through it, in water up to your thighs at times. The tunnel is quite narrow and often so low you have to bend over to get through it. I wouldn’t have missed it! Unfortunately, my pictures didn’t come out because it was so dark.

At the end of the tunnel was the pool of Siloam, where Jesus healed a blind man. Just a few steps away from there, archaeologists have uncovered the temple steps from the time of Jesus. He would really have walked that path!

Temple steps

 

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Tuesday June 6

Tuesday was a very special day. We visited Shiloh where the Tabernacle resided for  many years. It was here that Hannah prayed for a son and God gave her Samuel, who later became the prophet, who anointed David to be king. While there, we had a time of reflection and prayer for special needs.

Tabernacle dig site

We drove through the area where Joshua’s long day occurred, and on to Gezer, one of Solomon’s fortified cities. I Kings 9:15 lists three cities that he built, and archaeologists have determined all three of those city gates were built by the same man of that time period.

Another stop, Beth Shemesh, was where the cows brought the Ark of the Covenant once the Philistines released it.

Qeiyafa was the encampment of the Israelite army above the Elah Valley. Here David chose 5 stones from a small brook to kill Goliath. At Qeiyafah, we got into small groups and ran around trying to identify various gates, the palace, and other items of interest. We were able to find some pottery shards there from the 10th century B.C.

Qeiyafa & the Elah Valley

Monday adventures

Our first stop on Monday was at Masada, a massive palace and fortress. While one palace was already there, Herod the Great improved that one for his wives and children and then built another one for himself. In AD 70 the Jewish Zealots inhabited it. They lived in Masada for 3 1/2 years before the Romans breached the walls, only to find the Zealots had killed themselves.

Next, we visited En-Gedi, a spring close by. David had hidden from Saul in a cave there, and had the opportunity to kill Saul but didn’t.

After a swim in the Dead Sea, our group went to the site of old Jericho and saw the part of the wall that is still standing.

Finally, we saw a presentation of the Tabernacle in the evening.

I know you want to see pictures, and I will try, but internet is very “iffy.”

Masada

The Desert Will Bloom

We spent Sunday in the Negev which is desert in the southern part of Israel. This is the area where the children of Israel wandered for 40 years before entering the Promised land.

The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them: and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as a rose. It shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice even with joy and singing… (Isaiah 35:1-2)

In 1948 the desert area was 84% arid, unusable land. At this time it stands at 62% unusable land. By using drip irrigation, the Israelis are reclaiming the land for farmland. They have just finished their harvest of wheat. The desert is truly “blooming”!

We also rode camels and slept in a Bedouin tent, similar to what Abraham and Sarah had done. What an interesting lifestyle!

Wheat fields of Negev

Camel ride at Bedouin Oasis

True Worship

Sunday morning our pastor asked us a question: “Did you spend 5 minutes in prayer to prepare yourself to worship God in church?” We had an especially good service Sunday, titled “Worship from a Hollow Heart.” If you would like to watch it, click on:

https://boxcast.tv/channel/csztkbm78g76uystdwju

“O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the Lord our maker. For he is our God; and we are the people of His pasture, and the sheep of His hand…” (Psalm 95:6-7, KJV).

Worship is not just singing, but service to God in obedience to His Word. Worship comes from a true heart.

Growth is a Process

Affairs of the Heart quilt

Affairs of the Heart

For the last several years, I have been working on this quilt. It’s still not finished; I have about half of the quilting to do.

Our Christian lives are a lot like a quilt–work progresses a little bit at a time, in spurts. Little by little we become more like Christ.

Being confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ (Philippians 1:6).

Count the Cost

Recently, I decided to make a sun hat to take on my trip to Israel. I pulled out the pattern, “sort of” measured it, to make sure the crown of the hat would fit, and quickly put the entire hat together, brim and all, before carefully measuring. As you may see from the picture, the crown was not shaped properly. Of course, the hat didn’t fit the way I wanted it to, so I had to take it apart the restitch the crown.

In the Christian life, we often get ahead of what God would have us to do. We think we are fully prepared for something, and merrily go ahead with our plans, thinking everything will be okay. I thought of this following verse, knowing that God would want me to be more careful, even in my sewing.

For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? Lest haply after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him, Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish (Luke 14:28-30, KJV).

Of course, in the passage in Luke, the Lord Jesus was talking about discipleship, and  giving up everything in order to serve Him. He wants us to be willing to surrender to His leading completely. Then, as we follow His directions for our lives, He perfects us to be more like Him.