Time is now catching up to me quite fast and I am not sure how I will be able to keep up with all this excitement. To start off with, I have to say that coming to Jerusalem was one of the best decisions I have ever made. I feel like I h
Monday, January 16, 201
2: JERICHOave learned so much and grown even more – hopefully I can try to express some of this through this blog. (This is another thought… I will try to write more.) Okay… here is the week. Ready, set, go!!
Yep! I went to the LOWEST and OLDEST city in the world. It was absolutely beautiful there too – it is a little Oasis in the middle of the Judean Desert. Several rulers actually came through the area to stay for the winter, like Alexander
the Great, Cleopatra, and Herod. The weather, due to the low sea level, was perfect. It was in the low 70’s with a slight breeze.
Our first stop was at the Tel es-Sultan, which is a mound that has been slowly built up for thousands of years by the different civilizations. So basically an artificial hill is created over lots of time because people conquer or rebuild over the same area. Make sense? If not, just google it. J ANYWAY, so we went to the Tel, which is the location of Ancient Jericho. This is the same Jericho where the “walls came tumbling down” for the Israelites to move in. Although there weren’t very many “remains” found (besides a tower 10 thousand years old) , it was so incredible to think that I was walking on ground that had thousands of years of history and civilization under it.
Herod’s Winter Palace: I LOVED this site!! This is one of Herod’s many extravagant b
ldings that he built. Herod actually died in his Winter Palace because he was sick and tried to help his illness by going to some hot springs in the area. The cool part was that I could actually imagine the palace! T
St. George’s Monast
ery: this monastery is located in the Mount of Temptation. It is believed that this is the location that Jesus was tempted by Satan after his 40 day fast. The monastery was beautiful just resting in the side of the mountain with the rolling hills of the Judean Desert surrounding it. There are little “hermit” holes around the monasteries where monks come to meditate away from the world in solitude. The only communication they have to the outside world is a basket to bring food into their little hole. Doesn’t this bring a new light to the idea of taking away distractions? One of the things I thought about while I was looking down at the wilderness was Christ’s 40 day fast. This desert is extremely windy, barren, and cold – I couldn’t imagine living there let alone fasting in such conditions. Then, Christ was tempted by the Advocate. It is incredible to think about.
Thursday, January 19, 2012: NEGEV!!
WOW!! There is a lot to try to describe about Negev! We first went to a weaving demonstration by some Bedouin women. This form of weaving is the same type of weaving that was mostly likely done in the bible. While we watched this demonstration, we sat under a tent that was constructed in a similar fashion as the bible so it felt like I was in the past.
Then we went to Tel Avid – there is an Israelite fortress on a hill with a Canaanite city around the bottom of the hill. The coolest part – going into the remains of a small temple and the Holy of Holies. It was so amazing to see the sacrificial alter and just imagine the people worshiping their God. Then we went to the remains of Avdat, which was full of caves and other areas to explore. I walked down to one cave because one of my friends told me there was some cool writing on the wall. Once I walking into the cave, some of my class mates jumped out at me and scared me to death! It was started and encouraged by my professors…. J
Friday, January 20, 2012: Western Wall and the Sabbath
Oh my goodness… Friday night was one of my FAVORITE things that I have done thus far. I saw and participated in the beautiful event of Jews welcoming the Sabbath! It was absolutely AMAZING!! The Jews were singing, praying, and dancing and even invited all of us to join. It was such an incredible experience to see the people so joyously celebrating for to welcome the Sabbath.
Well… I feel like I need to say so much more but I need to do it in smaller segments. Thank you for reading and have a wonderful week!!!