To the ends of the earth!

BPEA Ministry Updates

Jul 28, 2016

HEADING SOUTH THROUGH ISRAEL

We have had a great day today, and a little more relaxing pace than the past few days.  After breakfast we spent one final time in the garden on the Mount of Beatitudes, to soak in the atmosphere and to have a time of prayer as we looked down at the Sea of Galilee and the ruins of Capernaum.  While our time here has been amazing, and in one way difficult to leave, we are looking forward to the next few days as we make our way south, and eventually on to Jerusalem. 

The ruins of BEIT SHEAN

As we traveled through the Jordon Valley we stopped to visit the ruins of ancient Beit Shean, which was a Philistine stronghold in Old Testament times and a bustling Roman community during the early Christian era.  Here we climbed to the highest point of the site, where we had an amazing view of the community as well as the surrounding area.  Biet Shean  is mentioned in 2 Samuel 21:12, as the place where Saul’s mutilated body was hung on the walls by his enemies, the Philistines, as a gruesome celebration of their victory.  In that day it was a Philistine community, but that changed when David fought and won against them.  The ruins are some of the best preserved and most spectacular of any ancient city in the land, and the girls and I marveled at how progressive some of the infrastructure and amenities were in its day.

We then drove to the Jericho area, with the Wilderness of Judea on one side and the hills of the nation of Jordon on the other.  It was from this vantage point that God allowed Moses to view the Promised Land, from the east side of the Jordon. It literally is a land flowing with milk and honey.

This area of the Jordon River is where it is believed to be where Jesus was baptized.

In recent years an agreement has been made between the nations of Israel and Jordon, to open an area of the Jordon River, (which is the actual border between the two nations) for believers to be baptized.  Prior to this it was a closed military area.  Here we spent time reading about the ministry of John the Baptist and the baptism of Jesus. It was here that, after Jesus’ baptism, the Holy Spirit drove Him into the wilderness to fast and prepare for public ministry.

Qumran was where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered!

After lunch we stopped in Qumran where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered. These scrolls are the most compelling confirmation of the authenticity of Old Testament scriptures.  Evidence leads scholars to believe that John the Baptist was part of the Essenes, the religious sect living in this region, prior to launching his public ministry.

We then drove to our accommodations at En Gedi, in the Dead Sea area, to rest and prepare for tomorrow’s climb up to the caves where David hid from Saul, (see 1 Samuel 22).  This is one of my favourite places in Israel. 

What a blessing it is to be able to do this and to do it with my two daughters.

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