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Saturday, June 22, 2013

From Ruins to Renewal

Today was a wonderful day of touring one of my favorite places in Israel...Bet Shean.  It was here at the end of the first book of Samuel that we learn that King Saul (The first King of Israel 1050 BC) and his sons, including David's best friend Jonathan, lifeless bodies were hung by the Philistines after being defeated in battle.  It lead to David writing one of his most beautiful poems...the Psalm of the Bow that you can find in 2 Samuel 1.   This city was also know by Jesus as one of the Decapolis cities (Greek cities).    From there we went to the newly opened AUTHENTIC baptismal site of Jesus.  For years tourists in Israel went to an unauthentic site because it was less controversial.   The real site (or very close by) is near Jericho and literally feet from the Jordanian border (see pictures).   Here we all reaffirmed our baptisms and were marked with the cross of Christ from water in the Jordan.   Then of course it was time to float in the Dead Sea!!   After which we have come to Jericho---home of Zaccheaus that wee little man from Luke 19, the blind men being restored and of course the walls of Jericho being knocked down after Rahab was given assurance that she would be saved by the Israelites.   It is the oldest city in the world and the lowest!  Nearly 800 feet below sea level.  

By the way staying in the Paslestinian West Bank at a beautiful hotel.  The intercontinental at Jericho.   Absolutely beautiful!
Linda and Marlene at Bet Shean in front of
the Roman ruins

Marlene stop taking pictures of me!  At the Roman Ruins

Linda is standing on the "Cardio" or main street
of Bet San.  Also known as Scyphopolis.

Marlene taking a picture of Linda amongst the ruins

On the 'Tel' or mountain behind are the ruins of Egyptian
Pharaohs, and the early Kings of Israel. 

Marlene is a trooper sitting on the ancient latrines outside
the theater.  According to the information you were
given a twig with a leaf for hygiene.  Water would have
run constantly below.  How many other folks do you think
had sat there over the years!

Here is the site on the Jordan
River that nearby John the
Baptist would have baptized Jesus

Marlene standing at the Jordan River.  Across the
river IS Jordan

This church is on the Jordan side of the site.  Notice the Jordanian
flag?   Literally feet away

Bar on the dead sea...the elevation is in meters.
We are way below sea level!

Linda floating in the Dead Sea!

Marlene in the Dead Sea!

That is Mount Nebo across the way where
Moses died before he could enter the
promised land.

Monastery built around the site of the
Temptation of Jesus

In the 5th century desert monks lived in these
caves, one to a cave!

We've all been here!!

Jarir telling Linda and Marlene about the
Mount of Temptation near Jericho

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