Wednesday 31st March, 2010
We had an early start, traveling to the Red Sea Border Crossing to pass from Arava, Jordan, into Eilat, Israel. A slow process, but made a little more lively as Teddy presented his passport for an Israeli Stamp! After much giggling from Israeli Security guards – and photographs being taken, he was duly given his stamp! Three cheers for China, Singapore and Israel.Now can someone tell me why England is so boring and refuses this bit of fun.
Timna National Park
We started the day in Timna National Park, where we were given a guided tour of a reconstruction of the Wilderness Tabernacle.It is amazing to see how every element in the Old Testament Tabernacle points to Jesus; the Menorah – the light of the world, the table of Breads – the bread of life, the Ark of the Covenant and the Mercy Seat – God’s promise and way of salvation.
After Timna, we drove past Mount Sodom (where Lot’s wife was turned to stone) and on to Ein Gedi. Translated ‘the spring of the kid’ this is an oasis near the Dead Sea where David hid from King Saul and wrote some of the Psalms. We had lunch in a Spa on the Dead Sea, and then drove up to the hilltop for a time of Praise.
From Ein Gedi we drove up to Arial, capital of Samaria, north of Jerusalem for an overnight stay at the Eshel Hashomron Hotel. The hotel is well known for its Biblical Garden, where international groups have sponsored the creation of statues depicting Old Testament Scenes.
Thursday 1st April, 2010
We started the day with a drive up to Caesarea Maritima, a great harbour city built by Herod. This is where Peter preached the good news to Cornelius' household and where the first gentile baptism took place. This was also home to the apostle Paul - unfortunately imprisoned here for two years before being taken to Rome to stand trial. Our day started with a time or praise and teaching in the restored amphitheatre before talking a walk along the seafront to watch the chariot races (and enjoy an ice-cream!).
After Caesarea, it was on to lunch in Nazareth, at the city where Jesus spent his childhood. We visited the Nazareth Biblical Village which is a restored farm, very much like farms would have been in Jesus' day - and literally 500m from where it is believed he lived. The farm had a grape press, olive press. and even a small synagogue. Lunch here was perfect - a simple chicken kebab (marinated in something) with an equally simple cold cabbage/sesame seed salad, with hot soup and Arabic bread - delicious!
After Nazareth we went to the small town of Cana, famous as the place where Jesus turned water into wine - and hence full of wine stores! We went into the church erected in memory of the wedding feast - and underground into an area where a much earlier building has been excavated. Here Pastor Daniel shared the story of Jesus' first miracle, stressing how it's happening 'before His time had come' at a wedding showed the importance of marriage to Jesus and to God. He then invited all married couples to renew their marriage vows - even declaring 'as a minister of God' that grooms could kiss their wives!
That's all for now - more in part 3.
Love n Hugs,
Trevor, Shanhong & Teddy