Day 2 is about to wrap up here in Israel. Here are some of the places we visited today:
Jordan River where they believe Jesus was baptized. I had the honor of baptizing Jamie!
Dead Sea. The destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah took place near the Dead Sea. Many of us got in the water and we can confirm that it is indeed very salty.
Qumran. This is where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered in 1947.
Jericho. The oldest inhabited city in the world.
1-We are staying in the Angel Hotel in Bethlehem for the first three days. At about 5:30 am this morning we could hear the Islamic call to prayer going out over the city. For me personally it was a reminder of the intense spiritual battle that is still taking place in these holy lands and around the world.
2-God works in small out of the way places (and people)! When you travel around these cities you can’t help but wonder why God chose this land to start the Christian movement. Perhaps Deuteronomy 7:7-9 gives us the answer, “The LORD did not set His affection on you and choose you because you were more numerous than other peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples. But it was because the LORD loved you and kept the oath He swore to your forefathers that He brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the land of slavery, from the power of Pharaoh king of Egypt. Know therefore that the LORD your God is God; He is the faithful God, keeping His covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love Him and keep His commands.” I guess it is a good reminder that works in and through people and places that you and I might never expect. I would think part of it has to doo with God getting the glory and not us.
Tomorrow we will spend time visiting the cave where Jesus was born, the Shepherd’s field where angels proclaimed the good news of Jesus’ birth, and a few other places.