Today was BRUtal! (Whenever I hear this word, I will forever think of dear Bashir - our Palestine teacher... who would say it broo-tal! with particular emphasis on the first syllable...) But, it was one of my favorite days! We got two buses, so both classes were going on the field trips together… I was starting to feel like I hadn’t seen any of them in weeks… not just days. We got to see the other six-chambered Solomonic gate today at Hazor, and there were several excavations that were going on while we were there.
a casemate wall around hazor
One of them was just above a temple that they found at Hazor a few years ago. Today’s field trip was most of the far northern sites in Galilee (we made it up as far as the Syrian border). Hazor was one of the very first cities to fall with the Assyrian invasion and when the Israelites were carried away captive and scattered.
After Hazor, we went to Tell Dan. And lucky for us, we have ancient Dan in our group.
Dan is one of the headwaters for the Jordan River, and we got to see where the water seems to come nowhere… when it actually is part of a carst system (where snow melts and seeps down through the rock and ends up in fissures, where it comes out from underground in places like this).
the camera focused on the water... not on me...
the water just appeared out of these rocks...
It was gorgeous – I didn’t realize how much I missed the color green! And forests… I think that I am going to need to do some serious needling when I get home to go camping. (Conspicuous voice – “Mommy? I was wondering something…”)
Tell Dan was huge… in the Bible, it talks about Jeroboam and how he set up “high places” at Dan and Bethel. We got to see the high place.
a replica of the approximate size of the altar and the high place (on the right) that would have been set up by jeroboam.
And we got to worship Dan’s not-so-golden calf.
From the high place, we could see the “green line” that used to separate Israel from Lebanon. There isn’t much to see now, but that used to be a major area of fighting. We even got to walk through some bunkers.
There was also an ancient Canaanite gate (which, if it was the main gate into the city, we can be fairly sure that Abraham would have gone through that gate when he went to Dan to rescue Lot.) I would have liked a little shade too…
Our next stop was Banias, or better known as Caesarea Philippi in the New Testament. The evolution of the name was interesting. There used to be a temple to the god Pan there, which is also Panias… but there is no “p” in Arabic, so they call it Banias. With a “b”. I think everyone should just speak English. It would make everything so much simpler. ;)
it felt so nice to dip our feet in the water after a scorching hot day!
Banias is another one of the headwaters for the Jordan River, but it is also where the apostle Peter recognized Jesus Christ as the Messiah and Son of God.
I hope the pictures give you even a tiny sense of the beauty of this place.
We left Caesarea Philippi, and went to the Banias waterfall. Not really that historically significant, but it was still gorgeous.
Our next stop had absolutely no Biblical significance, but we had to storm at least one castle during this trip! I don’t think I can really sum up in words how awesome that was. We warmed up our charging voices by practicing battle cries, and then we received a rousing speech from our fearless leader, General Mulestein. (It sounded almost exactly like the one from Lord of the Rings… oh wait, it was!)
Sons of Gondor, of Rohan. My brothers. I see in your eyes the same fear that would take the heart of me! A day may come, when the courage of men fails, when we forsake our friends and break all bonds of Fellowship, but it is not this day! An hour of wolves and shattered shields when the age of men comes crashing down! But it is not this day! This day we fight! By all that you hold dear on this good earth, I bid you, stand, men of the West!
overlooking Nimrod's castle
After storming the castle, we were let loose to pillage and plunder to our little heart’s content.
niffer, ariel, jarom, me, lizzie, meg, wayna, justin, canton, jarret, ashley and jacey (starting at left and circling back)
are you surprise at my outfit?
Some of us even gotten into fights amongst ourselves.
We ended the day by going to an overlook from which you could see what used to be Syrian lands on Mt. Bental. In more modern history, this place is important because you could see the ruins of Quneitra, that used to be a city, but is now just a bunch of empty cement buildings.
hiding in the bunkers
Biblically important is that this is the ancient road to Damascus.
nobody's getting past this angel.
this was at one point used for a gunner...
i think it just looks like something out of star wars.
we might have gotten a little bit bored at dinner...
After dinner, we were able to talk to a woman that is a member of the Ein Gev kibbutz. It was a very interesting a enlightening experience, because she explained the origins of the kibbutz as a totally communal effort, and how it has changed in recent years. She had been living there for 30 years, and had raised all of her children there. She told us that during the beginning years of the kibbutz, they had an extremely difficult time, because they were trying to use their previous knowledge and experience to live in a new land. Most of them were immigrants that were coming from European countries, where they would grow things like potatoes… and potatoes don’t grow well in Galilee. Now, the kibbutz has huge banana (orchards? fields? …whatever…), a restaurant, and a hotel among other things. They used to share all jobs equally, but in recent years, with the mechanization of many jobs, they have needed to specially train people for specific jobs. The woman that we talked to worked specifically with the hotel, but she had also worked in the children’s kitchen at the kibbutz, as well just about every job possible within the hotel.
After that discussion, we had a firebon. (Our lovely hosts at the hotel didn’t quite understand the concept of a bon…fire... and we thought it was so cute that we didn’t really feel like correcting them.) I have never loved a s’more so much in my entire life. And I think that the European chocolate made everything better. Mmmmm…