Today was filled with holy sites, a Roman village and travel to the Sea of Galilee. The Garden Tomb was a beautiful garden. I was baptized in the Jordan River. Beit She’an was a Roman city built on a cross roads by the Jordan River. We also went to the Mount of the Beatitudes. Now we are staying in the city of Tiberius.
First, we went to the Garden Tomb. A winepress near the execution spot indicated the presence of a vineyard or garden lending credence to the spot as the place of the tomb.
The Garden Tomb is in the Muslim quarter of Jerusalem. It overlooks Golgotha. Erosion has taken some of the skull look from the cliff. Unfortunately, the municipal bus parking lot is at the base of the cliff. The sounds of buses starting and backing up along with the diesel smell took a bit from the experience. A top the hill is a Jihad cemetery, Islam’s contempt for other religions evident in it’s placement
A photo before development showing a much less eroded skull and the major traffic way.
The tomb has two chambers, very small and a low ceiling. The door way had been enlarged sometime in the past. The original opening must have been quite small as the sample of the stone they had was only about three feet across.
We were able to take communion in a small chapel on the grounds. It was quite intimate and uplifting.
Moving on out of Jerusalem we went to the Jordan River at the spot where the nation of Israel crossed the river as they began to take the Promised Land. It was also the spot where John the Baptist baptized Jesus. There four of us took the opportunity to be re-baptized.
We then traveled north toward the Sea of Galilee.
Tel Beit She’an is a man made hill of layers and layers of towns built upon the ruins of conquered towns. It is the place where King Saul killed himself and his headless body hung on the wall for three days. The city they are excavating was a Roman city of around 100,000 people on a crossroads to about everywhere.
One way they know the population is the capacity of the theater. They seated about 10% of the population and this theater seats about 10,000. Thus the city population figure.
Our guide emphasized that the Romans were totally after the WOW factor in their constructions. Tall columns, carvings, mosaics to impress those who came to the cities.
Notice the angle of the stones comprising the road? The pavers set at 45º muffled the sounds of the horses and wheels as they traveled. And we think we are so much more advanced than the ancients. Who knew that sort of detail?
A manhole cover for access for under the street. The reason they are round is so the cover can’t fall down the hole.
There was an earthquake that destroyed the city. Sorry, I can’t remember the year he said it happened in. They know the direction of the movement of the ground because all the columns fell in the same direction. I didn’t get a picture of it since it wouldn’t show up well but you could see the street was wavy
Archways are what gave the ancient people the ability to build such strong structures.
The Sea of Galilee
Looking down on the lake from the top of the Mount of the Beatitudes. It was very moving. Devotions, then time spent in personal reflection.
This is a long slope. I imagine that this is where Jesus stood near the lake shore and spoke to the crowds seated up the vast hillside. His voice would have carried well, and there was room for so many to listen with wonder to the man who spoke with such authority and knowledge.
The day has to be my favorite so far. First, the time spent with remembrance of His last day and his triumph over death for us. Then, to be baptized at the spot where He was. Last, to sit and think about the character traits He modeled and we are to emulate.
In His Steps
My church offered the opportunity to travel for 10 days in Israel. I jumped at the chance. So daily I will be posting images and comments. I hope you are blessed with what I share.
This blog is dedicated to BL who went to meet our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We’ve been friends for over 40 years, raised our boys together, and our lives should have had many more years along side each other. God had other plans. We will be together for eternity.
I love you and will miss you terribly.