Friday, July 10, 2009

Yes I have pictures!

Scads of pictures - pictures galore. I have no way of inserting my SD card into a computer here and dodgy internet access at best so you won't see any of them for a while. Then you'll see too many.

We've been to Megiddo and seen the plains of Armageddon. I'm pleased to report that in spite of everything which is transpiring in the Anglican Communion - it may well not be as apocalyptic as some are predicting. The Plains of Armageddon seemed rather tranquil. There was a tractor or two. That's it.

The Northwest corner of the Sea of Galilee has been the high point for me. Capernaum was tremendous as was the (probable) location of the miracle of the Loaves and Fishes and Jesus' appearance to the disciples when they were fishing with little luck. We went to Beth Saida today - bumped into a Glaswegian helping out with the 'dig' there. Floated down three kilometres of the upper Jordan River flowing into the Sea of Galilee. We felt well - all was good.

I finished the day up at the Mount of the Beatitudes - was struck by how small and local everything was. It was all there in front of me. Within a sweep of about 50 degrees of head-turn was Tiberias to the right - where the tyrant lived who had done-in John the Baptist and was probably gunning for Jesus. Right below was Tabgha - the loaves and fishes, the calling of the disciples near the Source of Capernaum where they'd likely have been cleaning their nets and the appearance of Jesus to his disciples after the Resurrection. To the right was the coast where so much of the opposition had occurred - Demoniacs, the Gadarene Swine and the Stormy Coast requiring calming. Fifty degrees of head turn and you have a good half of the Gospels. Remarkable! Unbelievable!
Next week is Jericho and Jerusalem.

Monday, July 06, 2009

The Valley of Ela - between Jerusalem and Tel-Aviv - where David faced off with Goliath. This picture is taken from within the perimeter fence surrounding the Moshav where my sister-in-law and brother-in-law live with their three children. There was an attack a few years back - children stuffed under beds and parents standing guard with drawn pistols. It's like that here - it's hard to explain. Hard to understand.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Our first day in Israel was delightfully cool. I gather that it will be hotter tomorrow. We spent the better part of the day climbing the man-made hill which was Herod's summer palace and a defensive position in both the First Jewish Revolt (66 ad +-) and the Bar-Kochba Rebellion (135+-).

The first thing one encounters before climbing the last bit to the summit of the man-made hill is the pile of missiles which were rolled down the hill at the Romans from the heights. Each one of these weighs between 700 lbs and a full ton and would have done a fair bit of damage to those who weren't able to get out of the way in the time. Examples of the missles tossed in the other direction with the aid of catapults are apparently much smaller. Defense has always been an easier job!

Health and Safety in the UK would have thought they'd died and gone to hell at the site of Herod's Summer Palace high atop this hill. There were so many things to regulate and none of them regulated! It was delightful - toppled stones, secret passages and all of them treacherous and difficult to navigate.