This morning started with an early rise time and ended with an amazing relaxing time to reflect. Let me share with you where we were able to visit and what we were able to accomplish.
The day started with capturing a talk about communion and small groups from the shores of the Sea of Galilee. Galilee was the sight of the very first small group as Jesus and 12 men lived, served and learned together. Now, on to the rest of the day!
Megiddo – This is likely one of the most influential Tel’s in all of Israel. First, what is a Tel? A Tel is cone shaped mound with a flat top where civilizations had been built on top of each other over many many years. At Megiddo at least 26 different layers of civilization have been unearthed. Meggido is also a location that has likely experienced the most battles in all of the world, and the book of Revelation tells us that there is still one more to come. Now, I know that I have mentioned Meggido before in this blog, but today we actually spent time filming on this site and I can’t wait to show you some of the amazing lessons that we can learn from Meggido and their great city defense.
Bet She’an – This site contains two very important towns: a Roman city and an Philistine village. These towns are important for two very different reasons. First, the Philistine village was close to the site of a great battle between the Philistines and King Saul. The Philistines were mad over the killing of Goliath by David and they attacked the Israelites. Saul was killed in the battle and his body was hung on the gates of the city at Bet She’an. You can read about this in 1 Samuel 31. Don’t miss what led up to this battle in 1 Samuel 28. Saul refused to obey the Lord and his lack of trust and disobedience led to his demise.
The Roman city located at Bet She’an is as impressive as I’ve seen to date. Housing an amazing amphitheater, public bathhouses with spas, an amazing road system including a sewer system and even heating and cooling systems for the homes, Bet She’an is an impressive display of the Roman lifestyle. This is important because the Romans lived for today, similar to what we tend to see in our culture. The Romans did not believe in the afterlife and because of that they would eat, drink and be merry. Today, the city stands in ruins – a lasting reminder that there is an end and we must be ready!
Bethany by the Jordan – Our next location for the day was at Bethany by the Jordan. This site should be distinguished from the Bethany located about 5 miles outside of Jerusalem, the Bethany where Lazarus was raised. In John 1 we read that Bethany by the Jordan was the location of much of John the Baptist’s ministry. In fact, it was at this site that he baptized Jesus, beginning his public ministry. Here, John declared: “Behold (look, pay attention) the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the whole world.” What a bold statement – not just your personal sins, not the sins of the nation – but the sins of every individual in every nation!
Now this particular section of John 1 leaves us with a great question. Who/what is the purpose of your life? John’s purpose was to point to Jesus. What about you?
Qumran – Qumran is the site of one of the most important archaeological sites of all time and certainly the most important of the last 100 years. At Qumran, 2 young boys were trying to find one of their animals in 1947 and they threw a rock into a cave and heard a funny sound. When they went into the cave they discovered a covered pot containing scrolls. Over the next several years nearly a dozen caves were discovered and 981 manuscripts of different books of the Bible were discovered. Every book of the Bible except Esther was found here. Now, to understand the background – Essenes (scribes who’s job was to copy the Bible) located themselves around Qumran and faithful copied the Scriptures and safely stored them in an incredibly dry environment.
Now, why is this so important, because it validates that the copies of the Bible that we have today are accurate, back 1000 years further than we had before this find. Qumran reinforces for us that the Bible is absolutely trustworthy.
Tomorrow we will be climbing Massada, we will also be in En Gedi, but most importantly we will be heading up to Jerusalem! I can’t wait to show you the city where the most important events in all of history took place.