We stopped at the Banias waterfall, the largest waterfall in Israel. The Banias is a spring which rises from the base of Mount Hermon, Israel's tallest mountain.
(whenever we climb down stairs, it means we have to climb up them too!
The river flows into the Jordan river.
Nearby was the city of Caesarea Philippi, located at the northern border of Israel at the southern base of Mount Hermon. The city was first known as Paneas, named after the idol Pan (the Greek idol of nature and shepherds). Pan was an idol to fear and we get our word "panic" from it. Changed to Banias when translated into Arabic.
Caesarea Philippi was built at the base of a rock cliff that had a major spring flowing out of a large cave (the water source to the Banian waterfalls). The Romans considered this cave the entrance into Hades - the gateway to hell.
It was here that Jesus asked His disciples who the people thought He was. And then He said "Who do you say I am?" Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God."
With the cave into Hades in view (and perhaps He pointed to it?), Jesus proclaimed that He would overthrow the kingdom of evil - "the gates of hell will not prevail". Jesus came to overthrow and destroy the Adversary.
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Our bus took us to the Syrian border. This is Mount Hermon.
The Damascus road, where Jesus met Saul (who then became Paul).
Some ruins along the road.