Today was another amazing day in Israel full of adventure. We started this morning by traveling to Hazor. On the way we passed through Cana where Jesus preformed his first miracle at the wedding by turning the water into wine. Hazor is a great archeological cite located in the Upper Galilee, north of the Sea of Galilee, in the southern Hula Valley. Its history starts sometime in the early Bronze Age. The city has been found by name in Egyptian records as well as the biblical account. At one time they believe this city had about 15,000 residents which is amazing. There is an upper and lower city that have been inhabited by many people over the years. The most amazing feature to me is the water source. They dug a hole 45 meters deep, then tunneled another 25 meters outside the city walls to get to the water source. They did this so that the city could have water even when they were under attack or under siege. There is a lookout tower on the far end of the ruins that gives an amazing view and you can really understand why this was such and important and strategic location. According to the Books of Kings, this town, along with Megiddo, and Gezer, was very fortified and expanded by King Solomon.You can read about this city in the Bible in 2 Kings 15:29, 2 Kings 23:8, and Joshua 11:1-12.

One of the main gates into the city

One of the main gates into the city

Olive press they found in one of the large houses

Olive press they found in one of the large houses

Lookout tower

Lookout tower

really old steps

really old steps

Large wall about 2 meters wide. Two walls with dirt filled in was a common way they built walls.

Large wall about 2 meters wide. Two walls with dirt filled in was a common way they built walls.

Next we traveled to Tel Dan which is now a nature reserve and has some biblical ruins as well. This cite is very different from Hazor. Here you find lush green vegetation everywhere because water is so abundant. There is a huge natural spring that is located here and gushes forth with 8.2 cubic meters of water every second. The water is so cold, and sweet that you simply don’t want to leave this oasis. The springs are the result of melting snow from theĀ  Hermon mountains andĀ  the majority of the water of the Jordan River comes from this source. This city was first settled about 7,000 years ago. The Canaanites lived here and the city has also been called Laish, and then was captured by the tribe of Dan and thus the name changed. You can read about this in Judges 18:27-29. On this cite archeologists also found a direct and indisputable link to the kingdom of David in the form of a tablet. This was a major discovery validating much of the Old Testament since some scholars and long argued that David was never king. There is also a massive wall built when the Israelites where here that is extremely impressive. Cultic worship also took place here and there was a golden calf raised up here as part of that idol worship At the main gate to the Israelite city there is still the judgment seat where the King or elders would come sit and make decisions and judgments about all kinds of matters. The nature trails in and around the cite are somewhat difficult to walk down, but worth the effort. I took the time to get into the water in the only place you are allowed to do so. The water was amazingly cold. My toes became numb in less than a minute, but the fresh cold, water was really great and I would highly recommend this experience to others.

fresh water

fresh water

fresh water

fresh water

Israelite Wall

Israelite Wall

Israelite Wall

Israelite Wall

judgment seat where the King or elders would come sit and make decisions and judgments about all kinds of matters

judgment seat where the King or elders would come sit and make decisions and judgments about all kinds of matters

judgment seat where the King or elders would come sit and make decisions and judgments about all kinds of matters

judgment seat where the King or elders would come sit and make decisions and judgments about all kinds of matters

Canaanite wall and gate

golden calf was here
golden calf was here

Finally after lunch we we arrived at Banias or Caesarea Philippi of course Jesus brought his disciples here on multiple occasions, and it mentioned in both Matthew and Mark by name. However the most famous thing about this cite is that this is where Jesus made the statement to Peter saying in part on this rock I will build my church. Many think that he was referring to Peter because Peter’s name means rock. However when you visit the site you might come to a different conclusion, because the cite is on a huge rock. Jesus followed that up by saying that the gates of hell would not overcome his church. Banias had long been a city of idol and pagan worship. Touring the cite you will find half a dozen cites that were related to this activity. Jesus may have had this in mind when he made that statement as well. However you interpret the passage this is an amazing place to visit.

cave and cultic worship center in the distance

cave and cultic worship center in the distance

a fresh water spring use to come out of this cave

a fresh water spring use to come out of this cave

Caesarea Philippi

Caesarea Philippi

Caesarea Philippi

Nimrods Fortress

Nimrods Fortress

Dr. Williford came here for six years and did archeological digs so we got to tour a part of that park that is not normally open to the public across the street where he did his work. This cite had lots of Roman and Byzantine structures including huge bath houses, and basilicas. It was great to hear him talk about these things and how they made the discoveries and unpacked this history as they moved along.

After we left we drove up through the Golan Heights and saw Nimrods Castle from a distance. This is a huge fortress front the Crusaders and something I would really like to tour sometime. We also saw Mount Hermon the most likely place that the transfiguration of Christ took place. We drove through some Druez villages and saw the remains of buildings that the Israel army destroyed in the 1968 war when they drove Syria off of these mountains and took control of this area. It seems every place you turn in this land there is more history to be discovered. This was a fascinating day and the end of our first full week here. Tomorrow we will attend church then pack up and prepare to head to Jerusalem on Monday. I know there will be even more to discover there!

This is what I had for lunch in case you want to know. Its called Saint Peters fish.

Lunch