Is there more?                                                                                      April 30, 2016


Is there more?  I keep asking myself that question as we experience new aspects of this tour.  I was talking with Hela, our fantastic tour guide and commented, “If I had to go home now, I would still be fulfilled and blessed from 2 1/2 days of touring”.

On the bus ride to the Dead Sea, we were asked what would be on our “High-Lite”  reel so far.  Many shared that the service of Baptism in the Jordan River made the cut.  I must admit, “ol’ stoic pb” was over come with how special that time was.  We Screen Shot 2016-04-30 at 9.54.58 PMhad nine people that re-affirmed their initial baptism.  There wasn’t a dry-eye in the place.  Words can’t explain how special it was.  One of our new friends touring with us is named Robert, a retired professional photographer.  Following the baptism he came to me a bit regretful, because he said that he missed “The shot”.  He explained that as one of the participants was being raised out of the water, a bird flew by.  It reminded him of Matt. #3:16 “As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went out of the water,  At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on him.”  Screen Shot 2016-04-30 at 9.54.04 PMScreen Shot 2016-04-30 at 9.54.17 PM

Our next visit was Megiddo, this is a location of a 22 layered “tel”.  A “Tel” is where each civilization is built upon the previous one.  As one city/town is built and then destroyed, another is built on that exact site.  At the earliest level were the Screen Shot 2016-04-30 at 9.55.48 PMCanannites (2200 B.C.E.)  Over Screen Shot 2016-04-30 at 9.55.59 PMa thousand years later Solomon built a “Chariot City” there.  Since this was a large fortified city, one of the kings had built a tunnel within the city walls to supply them with water,  We were able to climb down in and through the tunnel to its’ water source.Screen Shot 2016-04-30 at 9.57.11 PM

We also visited another “tel” called Beth Shan.  It also contained 22 different layers, the major excavation site revealed a Roman era.  The Romans were opposed to Christianity, however during the Byzantine period(Emperor Constantine roughly 300a.d.) Christianity was accepted.  We were shone a baptistry site outside Screen Shot 2016-04-30 at 9.57.22 PMthe areScreen Shot 2016-05-01 at 9.08.12 AMa of a Roman bathhouse.  He were also able to see another amphitheatre.  Neither Kim nor I have gotten tired of seeing these amazing sites.  One can only imagine how much time, effort, and skill (along with forced labor) needed to make these historic treasures.

Near days end we visited the Qumran caves.  This is where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered by some sheep herding boys.  We would’ve loved to climb up the rugged hills and do a little cave exploring ourselves, but with the heat (around 100F.), time, and oh….. the guards, Hela didn’t think it would be such a good idea! (party-pooper).

We finished the day at the Dead Sea.  We didn’t make it there in time to swim (I meanScreen Shot 2016-05-01 at 8.59.18 AM FLOAT) in the sea, but we watched the sunrise (Sunday, May 1st) as we calmly floated in the water.  As ya’ll were thinking about bed we were floating like fishing bobber’s in the Sea.  When they say keep your mouth shut, they are not kidding.  The water is sooooo salty it almost stings.  Kim and I enjoyed that morning “bob”Screen Shot 2016-05-01 at 8.59.31 AM immensely.  What an opportunity.  We have developed some new friendships and discovered new meaning to the term “The Holy Land”.  Yet, there is more to come today.