It certainly did not feel like a Sunday today.  But we did enjoy some very special moments together – sweat and all.  The morning began with a beautiful sunrise.  One which I must take by faith.  Ken said it was great so I believe him.  I was sawing logs (thankfully) and enjoying the cool comfort of a very large bed.  Sorry, but that’s the truth.  Breakfast was again delicious.  We will not go home in any sort of starvation mode.  The food is plentiful, healthy (if you want it to be), and high in calorie counts (if you want it to be).  I am not taking many of the low-calorie options.  Coming home will indeed be another shock on the food level.


We were on the bus right at 8 am and headed to our first stop.  This morning we finally catch up on the lost hour on our first day.  We pick up the third and final of the “cursed” cities.  Cities in which Jesus did many miracles, but saw no repentance, so he cursed them.  We had already seen Bethsaida and Capernaum, so now it was Korizim’s turn for our crew to descend upon it.


I never really know how a group will react to some of these sites, but this group loves them all.  And after the massive crowds we encountered yesterday, it was a bit of a shock to be the only bus in the parking lot at Korizim.  I like that.  The visit wasn’t too long, maybe 45 minutes at the most, but it was special. 


For me, I immediately thought back to my first visit – with my folks, the Smiths, and my dear second mom, Marge.  It seemed like just yesterday that we had hunted for Roman glass in the freshly excavated ruins of Korizim.  It was a tender moment for me (and unknown to the group…I guess until now).  They sort of read these things so I have to be careful what I say.  Ha.  But I want to share what’s going on from my perspective, and that was a moment for me.
But the visit itself was good.  We spent some time seeing our first ritual bath (a mikvah).  There was plenty of water in it – just for us I’m sure.  But since the water was green, no one ventured into its depths.


It was then off to the synagogue and the special Seat of Moses which remains (well, it’s a copy.  But these things make our future trip to the Israel Museum another special adventure.  We’ll get to see the real one next week).  Of all the miracles done in Korizim, we don’t know the specifics of a single one.  But that is sort of the point.  The Gospel writers selected their stories carefully – and omitted much of what really did happen.  But Korizim stands cursed and deserted today because of a lack of faith.


Back into the bus and up to Hazor.  Again, we are the only bus in the parking lot.  And the only bus the entire time we were there.  We reviewed geography on the 10’ map.  Walked through an Israelite gate and into the palace of Jaben.  There Andre read the story of Joshua’s defeat of the powerful Canaanite king of Hazor.  Joshua burned the palace/city with fire – and the evidence is seen in the cracked stones of the kings palace.  An amazing confirmation of the biblical account in archeology.


We toured around the site a bit more.  It is a huge tel – over 200 acres, making it the largest city in the region.  Huge.  Impressive.  And they could sure do a lot more digging in the tel.  Oh well,  back onto the bus and we continue to head north.  We pass thru Kiryet Shemona, often a target of Hezbollah in southern Lebanon.  A quick stop at a drug store (Sharm has pink eye). And then off to the Tel Dan Nature Preserve.  I asked Andre about a lunch stop – wondering if the mysterious Magnum Bars (ice cream bars) may appear for dessert.  But we are eating in Banias, and so he said they would have them in the shop at Tel Dan.  So we gathered our shekels (we really took some dollars, but it sounds much more authentic to say shekels).  The gal dug through the freezer and found the white chocolate bars…which by scientific study two years ago in Israel, were proved to be the best.  We tried them all two years ago, and the white chocolate one was determined most delicious.


Again, science prevailed.  It was glorious.


But, alas, it was time to hike.  Well, not exactly hike.  We walk on a cement sidewalk through some lush green trees and shrubs and then onto a path which follows a river through the Tel Dan Nature Preserve.  It is amazing.  It is cool.  It is such a nice contrast to everything else around it.  It’s amazing.


The path ends at what the sign calls a “Cultic Center.”  It is actually the high place of Jeroboam.  Here he enticed the northern kingdom of Israel to worship his own version of God, and thereby make it unnecessary to travel down to Jerusalem to worship YHWH.  This is a site of perversion – but really very interesting.  And, it is from here that we can see directly into Lebanon.  I take my “every trip” pictures to relay to those Lebanese folks back home.  Not much has changed in that landscape, I must say.


Back to the gate structures – inner then outer – at Tel Dan.  We see where they discovered the only extra-biblical proof of the existence of King David.  I hope to see the stele in the Israel Museum.  Then, though thinking we’d seen as much as possible at Tel Dan, we are off on another jaunt (and by then a pretty hot jaunt) around the corner to the very ancient Canaanite Gate of 2000 BC.  Ken of course figured it out – which is really quite refreshing.  Andre then read the passage – which describes how Abraham came up to Dan to pursue Lot after he’d been taken captive.  Abraham very likely walked through this gate we stand before.  Amazing. Mind boggling.  Humbling.

Well, it is now time for dinner.  So I’d better run (I am already late) and finish up the day later.

8:50 pm


Back from dinner.  Back from a walk to the boardwalk of Tiberius.  Dinner was good (again).  Especially dessert – the crepes were amazing.  After dinner I walked with Seanna, Kely, and Jeff into Tiberius.  With the holiday tomorrow, we were told everything would be shut down.  I doubted it.  On a holiday, tourist areas don’t shut down when there is money to be made.  Well, I was wrong.  Everything – and I mean everything – was shut down completely, even most of the lights.  So we walked for our own exercise – which after five desserts is not a bad thing to do.  It was a nice walk on a warm night in Tiberius.  Back to the room now to finish the journal for Sunday and to pack up for the move on to the Dead Sea in the morning.  Oh, how I will miss the Galilee – it is always sad to say goodbye to this phase of the trip.
So, where was I before being interrupted by dinner?  Oh yes, we left Dan and headed for lunch (there’s a lot of food in these couple of paragraphs).  We ate at a Lebanese restaurant just outside Banias.  There are really not many options in the area.  It was good.  You could have schnitzel or falafel or chicken schawarma (which is really not schawarma at all).  I opted for the schawarma.  Half of us ate outside – and it was delicious.


We then took the two minute drive to Caesarea Philippi ruins.  It hasn’t changed much in two years.  We saw the cave from which in the day of Jesus water would spew forth to being one branch of the Jordan River.  We saw the pagan idol spaces and niches.  And – it was hot.


Back to the bus and on to the Golan Heights.  Up, up, up we go – past Nimrod’s Castle (a Muslim fortress built to defend them against the Crusaders).  Past a large Druze village and to a viewpoint which overlooks the current border between Israel and Syria.  They’ve built a nice parking area for the tour buses – and a geological park for students to learn about volcanoes down below.  Amazing.  The UN still has an outpost and the border is still there.
Back onto the bus and we begin the trek down from the Golan.  We came down the eastern shoreline – some new territory for this trip.  Came across the southern edge of the river, across the Jordan River, to Yardenit.  Gena Gaspar requested to be baptized – and the hoards of tourists are out in force.  We make it to the river without paying anything, and it was a joy to participate in such a special moment.  The nipped (I would so far as to say bit) us – but Gena was thrilled.


Back to the bus.  Instructions for the morning transition out of here with luggage.  Then a couple of hours to “rest” until dinner.  I had some things to do for Roy Medawar, and then worked on pictures for the website.
I think this wraps up the day.  Dinner.  Walk.  Journal.  Falling asleep in each paragraph now, but I am still tempted to take one final peek at the Sea in the evening.  It has been a wonderful three days exploring the Galilee.  The views have been spectacular.  Yes, it’s been warm, but not too warm.  It has been a very positive start for this tour.  Tomorrow we head south and the landscape dramatically changes.  There is a rumor of thunderstorms in Jerusalem for Thursday.  That could be fun.


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