Day 4-Friday in God’s Country

This was a good day. . .what a rush. . .spiritually and literally! We saw so many things that we practically ran from one significant site to another. Our tour guide, Dr. Anderson, 73, is mensa intelligent with the most incredible memory I’ve ever encountered and he is distance durable. That man has one gear and it is faster and more dependable than most 20 year olds! He pours forth information–references, little known facts, big picture meaning and piercing application–while running from site to site. And you can ask him anything–science, secular history, sociological implications of what we see, languages, Holy Spirit application–He has not failed to answer any question in depth yet. He amazes everyone in our tour group–and our group has some impressive brains as well! I can’t tell you how great this tour has been so far. We’re bonding as the Family of God should!

As for today, I’ll try to condense 6-1/2 pages of scribbled notes and add some pictures as well. I might begin with a couple of straggler pictures from yesterday that you might enjoy.

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While it snows and is so cold at home in KC, flowers are in bloom year round in Israel. Thought you’d enjoy these we found on an average street in Jericho.

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These snail type critters cling to the side of every swift running stream. The spiritual insight Dr. Anderson gave related to Psalm 23, “He leads me beside the STILL waters, He restores my soul.” Good shepherds were careful to lead their sheep to calmer waters because if they get these parasites up their nose when they drink, it could make them seriously unhealthy. Isn’t that great insight into how our God leads us away from things that are harmful to us. He whose vision and understanding are infinite, is our shepherd. He can be trusted. Speaking of shepherds . . .

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While we were gawking at the beautiful flowers (above) here came a shepherd with full herd right through town. Things haven’t changed much over the years . . .

Today we went to Cana in Galilee where Jesus did His first miracle, turning water into “oyenos” new wine. This was not fermented but a refined, purified version of the best juice from the grape. I won’t take time to explain why we can be confident that Jesus was not making wine as we know it (too much Greek required that I don’t know how to spell).

The next picture is taken behind a church commemorating the spot where Jesus, full of grace, restored Peter after he had denied Him three times. It was a very moving place–I believe we were all suddenly aware of the restoration that has taken place in our own lives and the love that the Lord has for each of us, in spite of our sin.

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This picture was taken on the shore of the Sea of Galilee. Notice many of the dark rocks that line the shore. Dr. Anderson believes that this body of water was created when the bowels of the earth exploded, resulting in Noah’s flood. He believes that is how the Sea of Galilee came to be. It was cloudy (there is usually fog on the Sea because of the dramatically changing temperatures between the water, the mountains and being so far below sea level (sorry, I’ve forgotten the exact # fact at this moment).

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Another view of the Sea of Galilee, this time from the ruins of Capernaum, Jesus’ home base during his years of ministry.

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The following picture is of the “Seat of Moses” in the ruins of the Synagogue at Corazon. We know that Jesus spoke from this very seat at least twice. It had such a reverence for me I couldn’t even touch it. Most of the stone seen here dates from Jesus’ day but the wood holding the seat up would have been a carved stone base instead.

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There is SO much more–pictures and lessons–but I’m out of time for now.

Impressions are many; my mind and heart are awash with the significance of it all. One lingering impression–this is about the most beautiful, lush, diverse topography I have ever seen. Much more mountainous than I expected. I have great respect for Jesus and His disciples that traveled by foot most places.

We drove from Jordan into Israel. Apart from the massive security (mentioned earlier)–these guys mean business–no joking, it was like moving from Missouri to Kansas–you really wouldn’t know at first that you were in another state (country in this case) entirely. However, there was an exception to that in Israel’s case. Jordan was dirt brown, barren, relatively unproductive land. Much of it was not very attractive. You pass through the checkpoints into Israel, however, and you’ve entered another world entirely. It is truly a land of milk and honey! Green everywhere–everything grows here. It is rocky and mountainous but every kind of fruit is bigger and juicier. There are bananas like you’ve never tasted, pineapple, figs, almonds, olives, oranges the size of our grapefruit, mangos, tangerines, I could go on. Lots of cattle grazing, and, of course, sheep. Fruit trees and palms, giant sycamores and stately oaks, we all agreed that we could live here. And absolutely no humidity! God’s fingerprints are all over this place–from His people to His land! There is no doubt in the minds of disciples who come to visit that this land is special! Praise our bountiful God!