The Journey begins-THURSDAY-11/20/97

GrpatChorazimstart.jpg (8778 bytes)We arrived at Ben Gurion Airport at 3 p.m. on Thursday, November 20, 1997. The Airport was busy and slow and we slogged thru customs and baggage in an hour. The most difficult part of the Israel experience is the plane ride to and from. It is an exercise in survival and once again we survived.



ClayatBethlehemstart.jpg (2824 bytes)Israel Travelers : (above, back left) Jim Davison, Steve Achord, Thorn Lear, Tom Brimmer. (above, front left) Tom Krimsier, Brian Sanders, and Clay Corvin (right).



TomBrimmer.jpg (2917 bytes)We walked out of customs and our friend, Tom Brimmer, was waiting on us. He was a real blessing. We didn’t have to hassle with Hertz because Tom had set everything up. We went straight to our Toyota Van and within 15 minutes were out of the airport and headed for our lodging at Dor Holiday Village. The traffic was worse than Atlanta. We were still enroute an hour and a half later. The total distance was only 45 miles and it took us nearly two hours.



BrianTKDorBeach.jpg (7170 bytes)Dor Holiday Village provided clean, comfortable cottages. I unloaded, and hurried to fix a pot of coffee. Thorn had carried the coffeepot and bag all the way from New Orleans and I was grateful as I sat on the patio looking at the Mediterranean Sea and sipped dark roast Café New Orleans.

The King of Dor was an ally of King Jabin (Joshua 11:2). The area was a stronghold of the Phoenicians and later the Philistines. Now, it is a beautiful beach resort area and farming community. The geese made quite a racket and a loud smell.

We ate our evening meal at a neighboring kibbutz. The food was good and plentiful. Thorn, Brian and Jim were impressed with the fresh vegetables and all of us enjoyed the hearty soup.

ItalBrian.jpg (3798 bytes)Brian being the ever kind and well-intentioned gadfly that he is, struck up a conversation with some elderly Italians at a table next to ours. We had a delightful visit with them. The next evening, ran into them at Nof Ginosar and then several other times during our trip.

(Ramiri and Jim retired engineers from Milan Italy. Brian is in the center)



GrpatDor2.jpg (8288 bytes)Tom Brimmer and I are the coffee drinkers. As a matter of fact, Tom Krimsier chided us about our massive coffee drinking, but several days later, Tom was reduced to searching for coffee several times during the day. He wasn’t addicted to caffeine though by his own admission. Those things that we are most used to are the very things that we miss. These kinds of “away from home adventures” tend to increase one’s gratitude for family, work and routine.

I have found that little things, like one’s own pillow and our wonderful New Orleans roasted coffee make travel much more enjoyable.

Maybe I am just aging.

Friday morning coffee and on the road. What a day Friday would be.



Little things make a difference, lifting spirits, dashing hopes.

Catching psyches unawares, causing wars, and evil.

Focused, as we are each day, allowances for catastrophes made.

Forgetting how it really is, little things make a difference.


TomKtakpic.jpg (2389 bytes)Tom Krimsier in a typical picture taking pose. One of the things that you learn after your first trip to Israel is that if you don’t take the shot, you won’t have the shot when you get home. This is Tom’s second trip and he used all of his film and then some. What sweet memories those pictures that we take make.


ClayDor2.jpg (5804 bytes)The morning was beautiful and I enjoyed the beauty of the beach and the Mediterranean Sea for a moment before we hit the road for our first full day in Israel.











FRIDAY MORNING, November 21, 1997

We loaded the van after a good Israeli breakfast on the Mediterranean Shore. The air was salty and crisp and the sky was joyous. I was excited about the day ahead, all the discoveries and insights that were just beyond the next bend in the road.

TomSteveThCaeOcean.jpg (4180 bytes)We traveled the eight miles south to Caesarea. It is located at the northern tip of the Sharon Plain and has been a port city built by Herod the Great, a Roman-Byzantine City and a Crusader stronghold.

Thorn, Tom K. and Steve with the Mediterranean Sea in the backgroung.


GrpCaesarea1.jpg (8753 bytes)We began our touring at the Roman Theater mentioned in Acts 25:23. Jim, Tom B. and Thorn are preparing to enter the Roman Theater. Tom K. is reading the sign.


Near the sign at the main of the theater site is a replica of a plaque with a Latin inscription referencing Pontius Pilate. The original is in the Israel Museum in Jerusalem.

GrpCaesarea3BYZ.jpg (4747 bytes)The ancient city covered about 2 miles. The Roman-Byzantine ruins lie between the Theater and the Crusader City and are currently being excavated. The ruins include administrative buildings, a bathhouse complex, and an amphitheater.



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GrpCaeCrusaderCity.jpg (3976 bytes)A little further north is the Crusader City. It is surrounded by a dry moat and is a massive site. It includes the original port area of Herod’s City, remains of temples and administrative buildings. It reeks of antiquity, possibly because there is so much stuff that you can see. The Roman ruins are truly impressive and give testimony to the engineering skill of their civilization.

We walked ancient roads and discussed Paul’s visit here and the Centurion of Acts 10. We live in such a short memory world, while in Israel, the memories stretch back many thousands of years.


GrpCaesareaSilcomp.jpg (6346 bytes)We are standing at the entrance to the Crusader City and seeing what many Crusaders saw. Beauty, security and possibly even home. We thought ancient thoughts. We listened to the waves, looked at the sand dunes and the Roman aqueduct coming down from the hills and realized how important a place this had been. It is hard to conjure up an image of importance in our minds when we don’t see the buildings and people. Ten minutes more of contemplation then we headed for the van to journey to our next stop at the traditional site where Elijah slew the prophets of Baal, Muhraqa.


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We traveled north on hwy. 4 and turned east on hwy. 70 the “Wadi Milek Road”. The road up to Muhraqa intersects Wadi Milek at Elyakim Junction where we turned left and traveled 5 miles, turning right onto a bumpy dirt road that continues for 2 miles to the Carmelite Monastery at an altitude of 1,900 feet.


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The Carmelite Monastery was built in 1883. The history of this site as a Christian site of reverence dates back to the 6th century.


GrpMuhrakaChapl.jpg (4660 bytes)This was a unique experience for us. Whether this site is the exact site or not, it is obvious from the scripture that the slaying of the prophets of Baal took place near this location.

The Lord is active in each one of our lives and we often overlook His actions. Correction, intervention, answered prayers and His response to our questions often go unnoticed. In 1 Kings 18 Elijah simply asked God to respond to the challenge of paganism. The greater issue may be that Elijah was asking God to respond to those that were in a position of religious leadership of God’s people and had led them into idol worship. I wonder if this has any application to those that profess a “health and welfare gospel” or more pervasively those that proclaim the Lord Jesus by their “lifestyle” and not their verbal witness? Interesting.


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Okay. The site overlooks the Jezreel Valley to the east. When it is clear, you can see the hills of Nazareth, Moreh and Gilboa. This isn’t a clear   picture day for distance but gives a dramatic view of the western end of the Jezrell Valley.

We survived the bumpy road going out, dodging a bus and other cars. The car needed diesel and we stopped at the petrol station at Elyakim Junction. They have a huge Burger King there, in the middle of nowhere. I took 672 south to hwy. 6953 to avoid Yokneam Junction, the intersection of hwys. 66, 70 and 722. It is a super busy intersection and is always hard to get through. We turned south on hwy. 66 for 3 miles to the ancient city of Megiddo. This is a place of prophecy and is a stunning Tel.

FRIDAY AFTERNOON, November 21, 1997 

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The palms on Tel Megiddo are the most striking sights on an important, once thriving ancient city. Archaeologists have discovered at least 25 strata of civilization on this Tel that has been unoccupied since the 4thcentury BC.

“The hill country is not enough for us, and all the Canaanites who live in the valley land have chariots of iron, both those who are in Beth-Shean and its towns and those who are in the valley of Jezreel.” (Josh. 17:16)

SolgateMegiddo.jpg (7198 bytes)We entered on the north side of the Tel through the Canaanite MB Gate. This recently opened entrance to Tel Megiddo is a powerful experience for Holy Land traveler.  Thorn, Jim and Brian are entering through the Gate. We toured the entire site. We saw the palace from the time of King Solomon, the grain silo, the strategic overlooks, the test cuts made by early archaeologists, and looked at King Ahab’s chariot stables. As with most archaeological finds, the mind has to fill in the gaps of sight. Our final sight was the water tunnel built by Ahab. It was a real engineering feat. It is 200 feet deep and 400 feet long to the water source outside the city.

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General Allenby fought the Turks here in 1917. Revelation says that Armageddon, the last great battle, will be fought at Megiddo.

CanaaniteShrMeg.jpg (4328 bytes)These ancient sites awe me. They bear testimony to the fact that things do change. The strategic location of Megiddo did not insulate those that lived there from the march of human events. New things, new ways came, and civilizations ceased to exist. People lived and worked here. Important people made their homes here. Change came. This world is continually in the process of change. Quiet ancient rocks warn us like the centuries old testimony of the Canaanite altar at the right.

Lunch was a welcome stop. We really enjoyed our meal at Megiddo. The patio was cool and the soup, hummus, pita bread, coffee, and other things were refreshing, filling and tasty. We had good fellowship around the table. Probably, we tarried longer than we should but enjoyed every moment.

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The reverse view of this site looks over the mouth of the Jezreel Valley. The Valley runs west toward Tyre and Sidon and east toward Damascus and Mesopotamia. It was a strategic location that controlled the Way of the Sea.

We turned toward Afula, 6 miles east of Megiddo on hwy. 65 to continue our days activities. Our goal was Bet Shean but first we got lost in Afula. I generally do this. The streets aren’t well marked and the roads criss-cross and well, I generally get lost. But, not to fear, by watching the mountains and the direction I wanted to go I wound around until the desired road showed up.

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We found the right road and took a quick trip north to the village of Nain. Jesus came here with His disciples and a large crowd, (Luke 7:11-15) and met a funeral procession for a woman’s only son. Jesus raised the man from the dead. This caused great fear in the people. We stopped on the road outside of Nain. We took pictures. Somewhere near where we were standing the Lord had reached into a lonely widow’s world and explained the angels proclamation to the shepherds of Bethlehem, “Fear not”. I am grateful that when my day is muddled and the future is bleak, my Lord says to me, “Fear not”. We were blessed on the side of the road outside of Nain. Jesus came to this place.

BetSheanSceneA.jpg (7216 bytes)Bet Shean wasn’t far. (I know that I’ve spelled everything several different ways but that is the way they spell in Israel. Everyone has their own slant on how things should be spelled and there is no Webster there).

We passed Mount Gilboa on the way. The tragedy of Saul occurred there (1 Sam 28:4). This event reminds me that God is more interested in my obedience than in my sacrifice. Gideon also encamped with his troops near Mt. Gilboa at the Spring of Harod (Judges 7:1). Our drive to Bet Shean was by many other significant Old and New Testament activities.

JimBetSheanA.jpg (3344 bytes)Bet Shean is another ancient city that has been controlled by many different rulers because of its location on the trade route between Damascus and Egypt. It is a city located in a fertile area, literally surrounded by water. It is a natural location for a city.

The Roman Theater at Bet Shean is awesome. The magnitude of the building that the Romans did here is a testimony to the importance of this city.

Today, the archaeologists have reconstructed the Roman street and bathhouse. This is an impressive sight. Dr. Dennis Cole and students from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary participated in the Old Testament dig on the top of the Tel for several dig seasons.

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Saul and Jonathan were hung on the walls of Bet Shean (1 Sam. 31:7). The temple of the Ashtaroths (1 Sam. 31:10) and of Dagon have been excavated here.

BetSheanJordanVala.jpg (5115 bytes)Shabbat would begin shortly and the site was closing at 3:30 p.m. We completed our tour and stopped at the concession stand for coffee and cold drinks. I think that this first day at Bet Shean was where the great devotion to Israeli ice cream began. A few members of our group, not naming Thorn, Steve, and Brian had a Mega-bar. The love affair began. I will add a picture of a Mega-bar on our January 10 trip.

The trip up the Jordan to Ein Gev took us about 45 minutes. It was a big transition from Bet Shean to the Sea of Galilee. We would spend three nights (Friday, Saturday, and Sunday) at Ein Gev.

EngevcottageseaA.jpg (5895 bytes)We all loved Ein Gev. It was quiet, clean and beautiful. Our cottages were roomy, neat and comfortable. They had a kitchen area and two bedrooms. It was delightful. The view of Tiberias was gorgeous.

I had arranged for us to have our evening meals at Nof Ginosar, 15 miles away on the northern edge of the Sea of Galilee. This popular kibbutz houses a boat from the time of Jesus and has very good food. The first night, this worked well except that Tom Brimmer forgot his insulin and had to run back to the cottage to get it. This took him an extra 45 minutes to make the round trip. The Friday night meal was excellent.

We ran into our Italian friends from Dor Holiday Village at dinner. The drive over and back gave us a chance to experience the Sea of Galilee at night and fellowship (although unnamed members of the group fell asleep).

I love to read scripture and pray on the Sea of Galilee. We had an opportunity to do this after our evening meal and early in the morning before breakfast.


SATURDAY, November 22, 1997

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Saturday morning was absolutely beautiful.   Breakfast was excellent. They had several different cheeses, yogurt, sour cream, pickled fish, boiled eggs, fried eggs, olives, tomatoes, cereal, cucumbers, pickles, butter, jellies, coffee, tea, a multiplicity of breads, and sweet rolls.

We traveled hwy. 92 north, hwy. 87 north, and west on hwy. 9088 to Katsrin Park. Katsrin is a reconstructed Jewish settlement that has the remnants of a synagogue built in the 3rd century AD and likely was a 3rd century AD olive producing community. The town was built on a high place, off from the main road, and used the stone walls of the back of the houses to form the outer barrier for the town.

ChorazimSynA.jpg (5325 bytes)Chorazin was a few miles west of Katsrin and 2 1/2 miles north of the Sea of Galilee. This was the site of a small Jewish town in the time of Jesus.  Jesus criticizes the town in Matthew 11:21. Chorazin, like Capernaum and Bet Alfa, has a synagogue with three aisles. Several of the homes at Chorazin have been reconstructed.  This site gives you a feel of what a small Galilee town might have been like in the time of Jesus.

GrpMtBeatitudes2A.jpg (8759 bytes)The Mount of the Beatitudes on the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee is immediately above Capernaum. This is a tranquil place of quiet beauty. The octagonal Church of the Beatitudes is built of local basalt and Nazareth stone. This church commemorates the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:1-7:29).

We negotiated a safe parking place in the Mount of Beatitudes tiny parking lot and went into the site. We had a devotional in one of the garden areas and then took pictures and walked the site. The overlook of the Sea of Galilee is particularly beautiful. We voluntarily limited ourselves to just a few minutes and then traveled down the mountain to Capernaum.

GrpCapernauma.jpg (8024 bytes)“And leaving Nazareth, He came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is by the sea, in the regions of Zubulun and Naphtali,” (Matthew 4:13). Jesus called his first disciples here (Simon Peter, Andrew, James and John Mt. 4:18-22). He preached in the synagogue, where He healed a man with an unclean spirit (Mark 1:23-26). He healed many that were lame, dumb, blind and maimed (Mt. 15:29-31). Cured the Centurion’s servant (Lk. 7:1-10).

SeaGalileeA.jpg (2500 bytes)Capernaum lies 636 feet below sea level. It was once a fishing village and was the primary place of ministry by Jesus during His ministry. It is now an archaeological site, gardens and two monasteries.


PetersMILhousea.jpg (8547 bytes)They have built a “space ship chapel” over the House of St. Peter. There are many archaeologically significant items at this site. We looked at them, walked through the synagogue, and had a brief time of prayer. This was the place where Mark said “Jesus taught as one that had authority, and not as the scribes” (Mk. 1:22). My prayer is that I will become more like Jesus and less like me. Amen.

PrimacyPetera.jpg (7809 bytes)The Church of the Primacy of Peter is close by Capernaum. The present Franciscan chapel was built in 1933 over a 4th century AD building.







MensaChristiA.jpg (8721 bytes)Enclosed by the Church is the rock “Mensa Domini” venerated as the table on which Jesus offered breakfast to the disciples in John 21. We read this passage on the Seashore and shared together in prayer.

Next door is the Heptapegon, which means seven springs. The Arabic word is Tabgha. This site is the Church of the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fishes (Mark 8:1-9) which was built over a 5th century AD edifice and dedicated in 1982. They have preserved some of the original mosaic floor.

We were ready for a good Chinese meal at the House in Tiberias. We had been traveling at a fast pace. Did I mention it was Shabbat? The House Chinese restaurant, non-Kosher, didn’t open until 1:00 and it was 11:45. We couldn’t wait so we headed for our next site, Cana in Galilee.

GrpGolaniJunctionMacA.jpg (7567 bytes)As we headed west, we stopped at that internationally known restaurant, McDonalds, at Golani Junction (hwy 77 & 65). A semi-quick lunch and on to Cana.



We drove through Cana (located 5 miles east of Nazareth), enjoyed the traffic, and located the Franciscan church that venerates the water to wine miracle of John 2:1-11. We continued on to Nazareth on hwy. 754.

Nazareth is full of traffic, and doing a lot of building. They have created a situation where the streets are nearly impassable. We didn’t have the time or patience to deal with the Nazareth traffic so we turned west on hwy. 79, on the edge of Nazareth and traveled on to Zippori (Sepphoris) National Park located 4 miles northwest of Nazareth.

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Sepphoris dates from the 2nd century BC. The Romans had begun a significant building program there during the time of Jesus. This particular site is important because of its well-preserved mosaic floors at the bathhouse (the Nilometer), and a Roman villa (Mona Lisa of the Galilee). Additionally, the site has a beautiful Roman road and a renovated Crusader era church on the top of the hill with a fabulous view of the surrounding area.

GrpSepphoris3A.jpg (5432 bytes)When we left Sepphoris, we drove west to the coast and then north to the Lebanon border where we turned east and drove to Goren Park to see the Crusader castle of Montfort. Montfort is the largest ruin in western Galilee. It was built in the 12thcentury AD to protect Acre. The walk from Goren Park is one mile down into a valley and one mile up the other side. It is steep and we didn’t stroll across.

Sunsetat Montforta.jpg (5299 bytes)We have had a rugged, fast paced day and now it is advancing to dusk. We made one last stop at Rosh Ha-Niqra on the border with Lebanon. We walked up to the border and looked across. The view is beautiful from the hill overlooking the Mediterranean. Haifa and Acre are in the distance. We watched the sun set. It was gorgeous.

The nighttime drive from Rosh Ha-Niqra to Nof Ginosar near Tiberias took about an hour and a half. Highway 85 west, we were traveling east, was backed up for about 5 miles from Karmiel Junction. It made our drive much easier.

We had a good time at supper. Tom Brimmer’s wife, Becky, met us at Nof Ginosar. We enjoyed the fellowship and said farewells to Tom Brimmer. He had to be back in Jerusalem the next day for his Israeli guide classes.

Brian started with the funny stories and on the way home I was laughing so hard at one time that I had to pull over on the side of the road. I missed the turn from hwy. 87 to hwy. 92 because we were having such a grand time. Thorn and Jim noticed that the lights from Tiberias were almost out of sight. At about the same time we passed a tank base that we had passed before and we knew that it was only a few miles to the Syrian border. Quietness reigned and sanity was immediate. I u-turned and we made it safely to Ein Gev.


SUNDAY, November 23, 1997

Sunday morning was gorgeous. And, we were worn out. I think that all of us agreed that we needed to moderate the pace a little. We almost did slow down but didn’t.

Today we headed north. We went by Katsrin and traveled across Jacob’s bridge on hwy. 91 over to hwy. 90 and turned north for 3 miles to Hazor.

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Hazor was a city with strategic and commercial importance for more than 2000 years. It was over 190 acres in size. It stands at the confluence of the north-south and east-west entrance to Canaan. It has 21 occupation levels and consists of an upper town, and a lower town. The most impressive part of the site for us is the upper town. The lower town is currently closed to visitors. Tel Hazor was occupied from 2600 BC until 300 BC.

The town was the Royal City of Jabin prior to Israelite conquest (Josh.

22:1). The Mari tablets indicate that the Canaanites maintained close relations with Mesopotamia. Solomon (I Kings 9:15) raised a heavy levy to fortify Hazor. Tiglathpileser III of Assyria conquered Hazor in 731 BC.

GrpHazorWtrSystemAP.jpg (4811 bytes)The site has a remarkable water system, built by Ahab. Also, you can see the gated entrance to the city, outlines of important buildings from several different civilizations, and the foundations of some buildings from Solomon’s time. The city was destroyed by several different nations and the ash layers are evident.

There has been a lot of archaeological work done at this site. Ayelet Hashahar, 1 mile away, has a museum with many finds from the site and a model of ancient Hazor. Generally, this is a delightful place to visit, if you don’t lean against the glass and set off the alarm. This upsets everyone!

We continued up hwy. 90 to Kiryat Shmona. This is an area largely populated by Israelis of Middle Eastern descent with a few immigrants from the former Soviet Union. We sometimes see this town on the evening news when the katushya rockets are fired from Lebanon. We turned right at the Burger King to head over to Banias (Caesarea Philippi).

GrpCaesareaPhillippi2A.jpg (8285 bytes)Caesarea Philippi was a pagan holy place venerating nature gods for several thousand years. The centerpiece of the site is the cave of Pan. This was the place that Jesus called Peter the “rock” (Matthew 16:13-20). This place is an area of springs and has a majestic beauty at the foot of Mount Hermon, on the slopes of the Golan.

We left Caesarea Philippi after a short devotional and time of prayer.

This site is a sobering experience when you see how sincerely wrong so many centuries of mankind were. Worshipping the creation rather than the creator.

DantrailsA.jpg (6588 bytes)Tel Dan, located in the Dan Nature Reserve, was just a few miles back toward Kiryat Shmona. We parked the van and began our tour of the site.  The Dan Reserve is a place of lush beauty.  A river runs through the reserve.  Majestic Mount Tabor oaks provide shade over wide paths.  We walked most of the hiking trails and slid through a lot of the river.

Dan was the most second important city in northern Israel.  Hazor was the only city larger than Dan.  Abraham pursued Lot’s abductors to Dan.  About five centuries later, Joshua conquered Dan (called Laish then).  During the period of the Judges, the tribe of Dan conquered Laish (Judges 18:27) and renamed it Dan.

In the Old Testament, “from Dan to Beer Sheva” is a stereotyped expression that fixes the boundaries of Israel (Judges 20:1, 1 Sam. 3:20). 

We enjoyed a leisurely lunch in the cafeteria at Dan.  The food was good and we reviewed the previous three days.  We all discussed the events that had been most important to us.  Dan is a natural place to relax and talk.

When we finished lunch, we turned south and traveled back towards the Sea of Galilee.  When we stopped at Rosh Pina for coffee, Brian had an incident in McDonald’s that was amusing to him and us.  We had been around young people with automatic weapons for several days.  The mall had a lot of people walking around with guns.  Brian had just gotten an ice cream cone and was walking back towards the exit of McDonald’s.  A balloon popped.  We found Brian outside the mall.  It did sound like a gun going off.

Kursia.jpg (9420 bytes)Kursi was our last stop.  It is located about 3 miles north of Ein Gev.  This site has been revered by Christians since the 5th century AD as the place that the dramatic excorcism of Mark 5:1 and Luke 8:26 took place.  Swine Hill would be an appropriate name for this place. 



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We rested before traveling to Tiberias to shop.  The traffic in Tiberias was rough but we got our shopping done. 

Nof Ginosar was a short ride north for our evening meal.  We had a lively and lengthy discussion with Ramiri and Jim and thoroughly enjoyed it. 

EnGevSteveA.jpg (3046 bytes)Then back to Ein Gev for the night.  Tomorrow, we would travel to Jerusalem.








MONDAY, November 24, 1997

Monday morning was strange. The wind was blowing at least 25 miles an hour with strong gusts. We ate breakfast, loaded up, and checked out. We had a good stay at Ein Gev. It was quiet, peaceful and enjoyable. This will be a place I will stay the next chance I get.

We traveled hwy. 92 south, to hwy. 90. We turned south on hwy. 90 and the wind stopped. That experience was really strange. One minute, 25 mph wind and then calm.

Belvoira.jpg (5893 bytes)Belvoir, “beautiful place”, was our first stop as we traveled down the Jordan Valley. We snaked up the road leading to the most invincible of the Crusader fortresses. It is called Kochav Hayarden (star of the Jordan). The Hospitallers completed this fortress in 1173 AD. After a brief time of inspecting the sight and observing the awesome views for 360 degrees we turned our faces toward Jerusalem.

The drive down the Jordan Valley is interesting and lengthy. The traffic was a bit congested.  We saw many farmers, a lot of sheep and quite a few camels. The land changed from green to brown, and then to rock as we traveled down the Jordan Valley towards Jerusalem.

BrThGoodSamaritanA.jpg (5038 bytes)We traveled for an hour and forty-five minutes and stopped at the Inn of the Good Samaritan. We had bypassed Jericho and were headed into Jerusalem just a short 13 miles away. This location is the halfway point between Jericho and Jerusalem. Note the story in Luke 10.

Jerusalem is located in the heart of Israel’s central mountain range. This is a city of high intensity. It is a city that is revered by Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. This city has drawn multitudes of pilgrims to its mountain site for thousands of years. This is the city that the Lord said He loved. This is the place that Jesus wept over. Jerusalem is the city that killed the prophets. It is a unique place.

DamGateStSceneA.jpg (8669 bytes)We turned left after crossing the last mountain ridge and we were in Jerusalem. The first local site was the police station and then not far away the Hyatt Regency. We went by the Damascus Gate and then to the St. George’s Cathedral Guesthouse and checked in.

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Our rooms at St. George’s were excellent. The rooms were big, comfortable and clean. Essa helped us get situated and was a big help during our entire stay. The staff went out of their way to take care of us during our five-day stay. The breakfast meals were good. We ate at St. George’s for four nights and enjoyed each dinner.

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We were ready to go to the Walled City of Jerusalem. We walked the two long blocks to the Damascus Gate entrance and hustled down to Abu Shukri, 63 Al Wad Road. We had hummus, soup, pita, chopped salad, falafel, and washed it down with cokes and bottled water. We were hungry and ate too much but it was superb!


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The Western Wall (Kotel) was next on our itinerary. It is the most important existing Jewish shrine. This wall was part of King Herod’s retaining wall that surrounded the Temple Mount. The Western Wall functions under the authority of the rabbinic authorities as an Orthodox synagogue. The cracks between the massive stones are stuffed with slips of paper bearing prayers and petitions to the Lord.

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BrianEsideOldCityA.jpg (2463 bytes)We exited at the Dung Gate and proceeded to walk around the Old City outside the walls. The first stop was the overlook of the Kidron Valley. To the south was Silwan. To the north on the eastern side of the city was the Mount of Olives. The walk was strenuous but we paid the price and re-entered the Old City at St. Stephen’s Gate.

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The walk back was leisurely and fun.

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We walked in and around the old city and back to St. George’s.

11/25-28, 1997 (Tuesday-Friday)

St. George’s Cathedral Guesthouse is a delightful place to stay. The rooms have exposed Jerusalem stone and the whole place has great character. My first activity this morning was the preparation of dark roast Café New Orleans coffee. The coffee went well each day with my morning devotionals.


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We had been in Israel for six days. The north was very beautiful, calm and devotional. Jerusalem was loud, chaotic, busy, chilly, crowded, traffic jams, hustle, and not very devotional. People were a lot like people in any big city. Our group discussed this and moved on. It was still Jerusalem.



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General Charles Gordon identified Gordon’s Calvary in 1883 as the place where Christ was crucified. Better known today as the Garden Tomb, this was first on our list today. It is located north about ½ block from the Damascus Gate. This theory is not generally accepted as the correct site of the crucifixion. The place is the best place for Christians to come and commemorate the death, burial and resurrection of our Lord Jesus. We did and it was a very stirring morning devotional.

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Stone where Jesus was prepared for burial-Holy Sepulcher

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