Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Visiting Israel’

Hebron

One of the places that I was able to visit on my recent trip to Israel was Hebron. Hebron, considered the first Hebrew City, is located in the Judean mountains south of Yerushalayim (Jerusalem). The location is important to the Jews because it is the burial place of the patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and their wives. (See Genesis 23)

P1040444P1040447

The building at Hebron was built by Herod the Great, one of his many building projects across the land. He also built a palace in Jerusalem, a palace in Jericho, a palace on Masada, an entire harbor at Caesarea Maritima and Herodium, where he was buried. However, the building at Hebron is the only structure built by Herod the Great that is still in tact.

P1040460P1040471P1040477P1040481

The graves of the patriarchs are believed to be in caves below the structure. Because the Jews must share the building with the Muslims, with each occupying one half of the building, it is difficult to do further exploration or excavation to find out what is below the building.

As we were leaving the building, an afternoon prayer service was beginning. The Jews living in Hebron are mostly Modern Orthodox, but Orthodox Jews from other parts of the country visit Hebron and spend time there in prayer and study.

Not unlike the Temple Mount and Western Wall, police are stationed at the entrance for security.

The tombs are a short distance from the actual Tel of the ancient city of Hebron. One of the upcoming posts will be dedicated to the Tel itself.

Read Full Post »

In the tall cliffs above the Salt Sea (aka the Dead Sea) there are openings in the cliffs barely visible from the road passing below. The openings lead to caves. In the caves, the members of an ancient Jewish community, hid scrolls on which were written portions of the Hebrew Bible as well as extensive writings about the life in the religious community.

The scrolls, the earliest copies of the Hebrew Bible, were discovered in the 1940’s right around the time Israel was being established and Jews were returning to Israel from all over the world. The discovery of the scrolls at this time was more than mere coincidence. The writings reinforce the claims of legitimacy of the Jewish people in the land. The writings further confirm the authenticity of scripture for Christians as well as Jews.

The photos above give you an idea of the geography of Qumran. These photos are taken in the wetter part of the year, and yet there is little greenery. The only fresh water in this area comes from the ravines which bring water from the north of Israel after the rains. The openings in the rocks evident in some of the photos are caves similar to and in which the scrolls were found.

The photos above are from the excavations of the Jewish community near the base of the cliffs where the Dead Sea scrolls were found. They appear to have been a religious group. This conclusion is based on the finding of several Mikva’ot (plural of Mikveh). The Mikva’ot are used for bathing, part of the Jewish practice of ritual purification. The occurrence of several in a community speaks of the important of ritual purity to the group. In addition to the Mikva’ot, remains of very large cisterns, used to collect and store water for the long periods without rain-water run off, have been excavated.

In the photos above, you can also see part of the water system which has been discovered which provides further support for the importance of water to their religious practices as well as their experience with collecting and storing water because of the geography and lack of nearby fresh water sources.

Read Full Post »

Lake Kinneret

Some things in Israel never change, but also continue to amaze and instruct. One such place is Lake Kinneret. You may know it as the Sea of Galilee or Lake Tiberias.

The lake is the lowest fresh water lake in the world. It is 13 miles long and 8 and ½ miles wide at the widest point. Though small when compared to many lakes around the world, Lake Kinneret is at no loss for visitors.

Lake Kinneret (Sea of Galilee) was the hub around which Jesus of Nazareth taught during his ministry. Many of the stories found in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John took place on or near the lake.

While I was originally drawn to the lake for the usual reasons pilgrims are, I am drawn back now by the beauty and mystery of the lake. It is a joy to photograph because the views are rarely the same. The lake changes with the rising and setting of the sun and with the fog and mist that lay across its surface through parts of the day as well.

I offer you, the lake . . .

Read Full Post »

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

As I head home from Yerushalayim (Jerusalem), I amazed that once again, it could speak to me and tell me so much of my God and my heritage as a God-lover.  It seems I can never exhaust the secrets this city holds for those who will come and open their hearts to the God who set His name on this hill.

Here are a few random moments from this year’s trip. Look for future posts discussing sites visited on our trip.

 

 

 

Read Full Post »

Ahab sent word to all the Israelites and assembled the [pagan] prophets together at Mount Carmel.  Elijah approached all the people and said, “How long will you [c]hesitate between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him.” But the people [of Israel] did not answer him [so much as] a word. Then Elijah said to the people, “I alone remain a prophet of the Lord, while Baal’s prophets are 450 men. Now let them give us two oxen, and let them choose one ox for themselves and cut it in pieces, and lay it on the wood, but put no fire under it. I will prepare the other ox and lay it on the wood, and I will not put a fire under it Then you call on the name of your god, and I will call on the name of the Lord; and the god who answers by fire, He is God.” And all the people answered, “It is well spoken.”

Elijah approached all the people and said, “How long will you hesitate between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him.” But the people [of Israel] did not answer him [so much as] a word. Then Elijah said to the people, “I alone remain a prophet of the Lord, while Baal’s prophets are 450 men. Now let them give us two oxen, and let them choose one ox for themselves and cut it in pieces, and lay it on the wood, but put no fire under it. I will prepare the other ox and lay it on the wood, and I will not put a fire under it Then you call on the name of your god, and I will call on the name of the Lord; and the god who answers by fire, He is God.” And all the people answered, “It is well spoken.” Elijah said to the prophets of Baal, “Choose one bull for yourselves and prepare it first, since there are many of you; and call on the name of your god, but put no fire under it.” So they took the bull that was given to them and prepared it, and called on the name of Baal from morning until noon, saying, “O Baal, hear and answer us.” But there was no voice and no one answered. And they leaped about the altar which they had made.  At noon Elijah mocked them, saying, “Cry out with a loud voice, for he is a god; either he is occupied, or he is out [at the moment], or he is on a journey. Perhaps he is asleep and must be awakened!” So they cried out with a loud voice [to get Baal’s attention] and cut themselves with swords and lances in accordance with their custom, until the blood flowed out on them. As midday passed, they played the part of prophets and raved dramatically until the time for offering the evening sacrifice; but there was no voice, no one answered, and no one paid attention.

Then Elijah said to all the people, “Come near to me.” So all the people approached him. And he repaired and rebuilt the [old] altar of the Lordthat had been torn down [by Jezebel]. Then Elijah took twelve stones in accordance with the number of the tribes of the sons of Jacob, to whom the word of the Lord had come, saying, “Israel shall be your name.” So with the stones Elijah built an altar in the name of the Lord. He made a trench around the altar large enough to hold two measures of seed. Then he laid out the wood and cut the ox in pieces and laid it on the wood. And he said, “Fill four pitchers with water and pour it on the burnt offering and the wood.” And he said, “Do it the second time.” And they did it the second time. And he said, “Do it the third time.” And they did it a third time. 3The water flowed around the altar, and he also filled the trench with water.

Elijah’s Prayer

At the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, Elijah the prophet approached [the altar] and said, “O Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel (Jacob), let it be known today that You are God in Israel and that I am Your servant and that I have done all these things at Your word. Answer me, O Lord, answer me, so that this people may know that You, O Lord, are God, and that You have turned their hearts back [to You].” Then the fire of the Lord fell and consumed the burnt offering and the wood, and even the stones and the dust; it also licked up the water in the trench. When all the people saw it, they fell face downward; and they said, “The Lord, He is God! The Lord, He is God!” Then Elijah said to them, “Seize the prophets of Baal; do not let one of them escape.” They seized them; and Elijah brought them down to the brook Kishon, and [as God’s law required] killed them there. 1 Kings 18:20-40

Nothing can really be added to this phenomenal story. The pictures below are from Mt Carmel, Israel.

View from Mt Carmel, Israel
Mt Carmel
Statue of Elijah, the Prophet, Mt Carmel, Israel
View from Mt Carmel, Israel

Read Full Post »