Saturday, March 6, 2010

Sea for yourself!

Our time at Jerusalem University College has come to a close.  We spent the last 4 days in the Galilee region looking at some Old Testament and several New Testament sites.  Since pictures say a thousand words I'll let you take a look at some of my adventures from the past week...

Amanda watching the sunset over the Sea of Galilee

 Nimrod's castle on top of a mountain peak
(ideal location for a game of hide and seek)
Basalt ruins of Korazin - An ancient Galilean city
Mount of Beatitudes - 
Where Jesus gave the Sermon on the Mount
(Matthew 5-7)

Typical scene, studying maps and history
What I do when I'm not studying

 We just finished our final exam with JUC which means it is Spring Break baby!  Janelle, Ruthie, Becca and I will be renting a car and heading back up to the sea.  We'll be staying in a cabin near Arbel and hitting up the hiking trails nearby.  About mid week we'll go to Eilat which is all the way at the southern tip of Israel along the Red Sea.  We're hoping to snorkel; it's boasted 3rd best in the world!

It's hard to believe I'm already halfway through our program.  Thanks for jumping into this journey with me.  And thanks for all the support and  encouragement you've given me.  Y'alls emails and notes keep me going!

Shabbat Shalom!

Sunday, February 28, 2010

I hear Jerusalem bells a ringing

Hello Jerusalem.  I'm now studying at Jerusalem University College atop Mt. Zion.  We've turned our focus from the conflict of the land to it's historical geography.  I literally am sleeping right outside the old city walls of Jerusalem.  We spend our days exploring the land on foot, learning it's twist and turns and seeing how it has changed over time.  

The city of Jerusalem (I'm living just to the left of this picture)

We spent a day visiting Old Testament sites of Jerusalem including David's city, Hezekiah's tunnel, the Western Wall, and the temple mount.  We also looked at New Testament sites like the pools of Bethesda and the church of the Holy Sepulcher.  Even with the month of time we will spend in this city we could never get around to exploring all it has to offer.

The rest of our week we have spent studying the southern Levant (Israel).  One of my favorite moments of our packed week was while we were looking over the Elah valley.    "Now the Philistines gathered their forces for war and assembled at Socoh in Judah. They pitched camp at Ephes Dammim, between Socoh and Azekah. Saul and the Israelites assembled and camped in the Valley of Elah and drew up their battle line to meet the Philistines. The Philistines occupied one hill and the Israelites another, with the valley between them."  I gazed up from the Scripture to see the hill of Socoh on my right while we stood on Azekah.  Where I'm standing overlooked the actual site of the epic battle between David and Goliath.  All those little details in the Bible that I used to skim over are now being anchored to land.  This same scene has happened over and over this week with Samson in the Sorek valley and Joshua in Jericho and David at En Gedi.  Very sweet for a visual person like me.

  Janelle and I reenacting David and Goliath by the Elah Valley

We just got back from a 2 day trip down to the Negev.  Ironically for the desert, we've been poured on almost everyday of our field studies.  It's funny seeing all of us covered in rain gear with nothing but our eyes and nose peeking out of our hoods, hugging our notes to keep them from getting wet.  But we're keeping our spirits high!  
Well.. it's time for me to go study for our exam tomorrow.  Yeah, I'm still in school, I forget sometimes too.

Overlooking the Judean Hills 

By the Makhtesh canyon in the Negev

 Some friends and I by the Dead Sea, after a float!