Our first day began with a scrumptious breakfast that included cheesecake squares, pita bread, lots of veggies and my favourite, persimmons! I grabbed an extra persimmon for lunch. LOVE them! We had them in Japan when I was a kid.
After breakfast, we boarded our tour bus (the one in the middle).
We were told to find 2 other "buddies". Whenever we got back on the bus following an excursion, we were to make sure they were on board so that no one would be left behind. My "buddies" were Jan and Louise, and Al's were their husbands, Chris and Bill.
First stop was at this grocery store. We were to purchase items for our lunches for the next few days.
Because Obama was in Jerusalem, there were road blocks everywhere, so Jim felt it was best to leave town. But first he wanted to give us an overview of the surrounding area.
Looking outside of town toward Jericho and the Jordan Valley.
Then looking at Jerusalem and the Temple Mount. The rectangular, salmon colored building on the top right of the hill is the King David hotel where Obama stayed.
As we left town, Jim pointed out this hill - called the Hill of Saul. It is where King Saul had dwelt and where David would have played his harp for him (1 Samuel 16:23). From on top of this hill, he would have had a good view of the valley.
In this valley below, Jonathan and his armor bearer crossed to attack the enemy (1 Samuel 14). Back in those days, this area would have been forested. In the 1500's, during the Turk invasion, the people were taxed according to how many trees they had, so they chopped them down!
When we signed up for this trip, we assumed that we would see lots of Biblical sites and Jim would tell us the history of each location. BUT, we were in for much more! We were to learn many lessons and in fact have felt like we have taken a seminary course! We were blown away and it will take a long time to process it all.
The Bible is timeless. Its truths are secure and solid as stone. We can read in the Bible "prophet's warning, a patriarch's prayer, a poet's psalm, or a preacher's challenging reminder." (Swindoll) The Book of books lives on.
It is an ancient Book, but it has never lost its relevance. God speaks through this Living Word; His very thoughts spoken to us. Do we listen?
"For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart." Hebrews 4:12