My dear wife, Imbi, is in Israel as part of Master’s degree from Wycliffe – traveling with 50 of her closest friends. (Actually she’s just met most of them.) Her reports will probably show up on the Wycliffe site tomorrow, but I thought I’d post them here, as well. She’s writing them on her Palm Treo (with the ThinkOutside Bluetooth Keyboard). Imbi tends to write longer sentences than I do.
This evening (Sunday) finds us 600 feet below sea level at the Sea of Galilee having begun our day at Caesarea, (the beginning of it all for the rest of us) then visiting Mt. Carmel (Prophets of Baal fame )and Sepphoris (capital of Galilee at the time of Jesus birth) and Nazareth.
This day, entitled Kingdom’s and Cultures in Conflict in our travel calendar, reminded us of the essential Jewishness of our faith, and laid the groundwork for understanding some of the political forces shaping this land of promise.
The travel is going well; Dr. Notley is not only a knowledgeable NT scholar, but very good at keeping the 51 of us moving along.
We began touring in the Negev, “the Land of Promise,” yesterday visiting Tel Arad, Beersheva – The southern gateway to the Promised Land, Lachish – the largest city in the south till it was raised by Sennacharib, the Elah Valley- site of David’s victory over Goliath, Beth Shemesh- Samson’s home and the area where the Philistines returned the Ark of the Covenant after stealing it, and T.Gezer, one of the fortified cities of Solomon. This last site is about to have some serious digging done.
Some of the realities of being here include a recognition of the beauty of the land; we are here at the end of winter, signaled by the flowering of the almond trees, and a haze of green and flowering shrubs as well as flowers in the desert lands. A real understanding is beginning to dawn about the relationship of the geography and its impact to and on the stories of both the Old and New Testament.
This morning actually began with a wake up call from God just before the hotel wakeup came through. A single brilliant crackle of lightning, followed by THE loudest crack of thunder right over our heads got most of us out of bed pretty quick:)
I am reminded as I sit here that things are difficult in this country as I listen to a helicopter, apparently patrolling over head. (now stopped)
Please pray for continuing safety, health and stamina for us as we are privileged to see and have made very real for us this place- so fundamental to our studies and our lives as Christians.
Blessings from the sea of Galilee – wow!
(Links and formatting added by Bill)