I left Benton March 3rd and headed for Harrisonburg, Va. to stay overnight with daughter, Katie. She and I joined Steve Wingfield and 31 other “pilgrims” to tour the Holy Land for ten days; to walk where Jesus walked (to run where Jesus walked?).
The reason I drove to Harrisonburg rather than fly from Akron/Canton to Dulles International Airport is because I had flown to Sarasota in January for a three day meeting and spent 3 days in airports. Every flight was delayed or cancelled! I almost had to schedule a psychiatrist to get over the stress and frustration of that fiasco. I decided that I would rather drive six hours to Katie’s house and then ride for 2 hours with the Wingfield van than to fly from Canton to DC. I’d rather be tired from driving than stressed out at airports.
We landed in Amman, Jordan late afternoon on Sunday, March 5 and were able to chill at the hotel until supper and bed tme.
I could go through our whole trip and bore you with details, but I will try to give a few highlights and insights of this amazing trip. Even though I have been to Israel several times, it never gets old, and I always learn something new.
The Dead Sea– We “swam” in the Dead Sea on Monday. “Swim” is in quotes because with water of 34 percent salt, it is impossible to sink. We floated. We were warned to guard our eyes because there are so many minerals in the water that your eyes would burn for two weeks (or more)! The minerals in the Dead Sea are magnesium, sodium, calcium, potassium and a concentration of the electrolytes chloride and bromide. Keep you head above water!
The Tabernacle– On Wednesday we visited a full sized model of The Tabernacle at the Israeli village of Timna. We saw the Laver, The Table of Showbread, The Lampstand, The Altar of Incense, The Ark of the Covenant, The Mercy Seat, the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies. The guide showed us all these items and explained the purpose and practice and the symbolic meaning of each of them. I think what impacted me the most was his explanation of the torn curtain between the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies. When Jesus died “…the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.” (Mk. 15:37) The torn curtain convinced many Jews that Jesus was indeed the Son of God.
When a Jewish man loses a daughter, it is tragic. But when he loses a son, he is so grieved that he will grab his robe near the neck and rip (rend) his garment from top to bottom… Just like God did when His Son died! “Truly He was the Son of God!” Jesus’s Father did what every Jewish father would do. He tore his garment. That proved that Jesus was His Son!
Katie– It was special to be able to be there with daughter Katie. I had gone with Adam and Amelia, but Katie had not been there. And even though it did not suit me to go at this time because of a busy schedule, it turned out to be a wonderful father/daughter time. AND- “Father/child” time (ahem… ‘Heavenly Father/and Us time).
A quick summary of what we saw:
Mt. Nebo, Church of St. George in Madaba, The Dead Sea, Petra, Agaba, Arava border, Timna Park, The Tabernacle, The Dead Sea (again- on the Israel side), Masada, En Gedi, Qumran, Jesus’ Baptism site, Jordan River, Tiberias, Nazareth Village, Sea of Galilee, 2000 year old boat, Magdala, Mt. of Beatitudes, Caesarea Philippi, Dan, Megiddo (Armageddon), Caesarea by the Sea, Roman Aqueduct, Mt. of Olives, The Garden of Gethemane, The Wailing Wall, Hezekiah’s Tunnel, The Western Wall Tunnel, St. Anne’s Church, Caiaphas’ House, Pool of Bethesda, Galli Cantu (where Peter denied Jesus), Holocaust Museum, Old Jerusalem, Shepherd’s Field, The Garden Tomb, … Benton!!