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47 travelers at this place:

  • Day7

    Jordan River

    November 15, 2017 in Palestine

    I’m typing in the morning after a full day’s journey up the Jordan river valley along the west shoreline of the Dead Sea and along the west bank of the Jordan River. Of course, that name might ring familiar because it’s in the news quite a bit. The West Bank is an area of Israel that is under Palestinian authority for “civil affairs, internal security and public order,” but is, according to Israel, part of the state of Israel. The Palestinians would argue that wording of course, but that is the way it stands. Much of the unrest in the area in years past is experiencing a lull right now, but one gets the feeling that everyone is simply regaining energy to take up the fight again. Lord, may it not be so. Psalm 122:6 says, “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem! “May they be secure who love you! Peace be within your walls and security within your towers!” For my brothers and companions’ sake I will say, “Peace be within you!” For the sake of the house of the Lord our God, I will seek your good.”

    We should take that seriously.

    The Israeli/Arab divide was made clear as we made our way down to a famous site on the Jordan River. This site is at least close to the place where Jesus was baptized, where Joshua crossed the Jordan as they entered the promised land and where Elijah passed the mantle to Elisha. On one side of this site is where Israeli tourists come to be baptized in the Jordan and on the other side is where Jordanian tourists come to be baptized.

    Even with all the hustle and bustle and chaos of the moment (think hundreds of tourists off dozens of tour busses coming down to the river for baptisms), there was something tremendously powerful about it. The power came from seeing Israelis, blacks, Asians, Russians, Catholic, Protestant, Orthodox, denominational and non-denominational followers of Jesus Christ submerging themselves in water as hundreds of thousands of Christians before them have done.

    We are part of something so much bigger than ourselves and our church. We are part of a worldwide movement to see the power of the gospel transform lives.
    Read more

  • Day14

    Western (Wailing) Wall, City of David

    May 20, 2015 in Palestine

    Today we walked back into the Old City via Zion Gate. We went to the Broad Wall (an ancient remnant of the wall around Hezekiah's Jerusalem). Then we made our way through the security checkpoint to the Western Wall (Wailing Wall). From there we made our way down to the City of David and the incredible Hezekiah's Tunnel.

    In Florence, over a decade ago, I begrudgingly paid the fee to walk into the museum that housed Michelangelo's David. As I viewed the statue from my low perch below, I was overwhelmed at the sight of it. On that day, I was not expecting to be moved. Today as I walked toward the Wailing Wall, that same feeling came flooding back over me. My throat tightened and tears started to well up in the corner of my eyes as I neared the wall. I struggled to find a small spot between worshipers and tuck my hastily written prayer into any available crack.

    The Wailing Wall is part of the retaining wall that held up the foundation for the second temple. It is the last remaining portion of the structure and is currently the closest thing that the Jews have to their ancient temple which housed the very presence of God. For this reason it is a place that is so important to Jewish worship. There is a sign leading up to the place where the Temple used to be (now where the Dome of the Rock is located) that says that no Jew should enter the place above because they may inadvertently enter the Holy of Holies and be struck dead.

    Standing at the Wailing Wall today, I laid my hands on the smooth stone, worn by millions of hands and lips that have rubbed the roughness away. I allowed the profundity of the moment to sink in and found my way to Hebrews 10:11-14 and the words leapt off the page into my heart.

    "And every priest stands daily at his service, offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet. For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified."

    I prayed for the people around me who were rocking back and forth and crying, and as I backed away from the wall, they continued to offer their powerless sacrifices.
    Read more

  • Day22

    Dead Sea Floating

    May 28, 2015 in Palestine

    Some members of our team floating in the crazy water of the Dead Sea. It really is quite an experience, including the mandatory mud bath. But you don't want to get that stuff in your mouth. Oh, and don't splash your friends because they'll get mad at you when it feels like their eyes are on fire.

  • Day18

    Mount of Olives

    May 24, 2015 in Palestine

    Our travels yesterday included a stop at Mt. Scopus and a good look at a first century tomb as Jesus would have been buried in. We took long, winding walk down the Mount of Olives. With thousands of other tourists and pilgrims, vendors and swindlers (not to mention “Jerusalem Taxi” camels), we stopped at the holy sites on the hill including the traditional site of the Garden of Gethsemane (Church of the Nations), and the church where Jesus wept over Jerusalem. We then headed south from Jerusalem to the egotistical Herodium. We spent the afternoon at the traditional site of the Shepherds Field and then on to Bethlehem to finish the day.

    There were so many lessons wrapped up in our travels today. Seeing the Old City of Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives broke down many pre-conceived ideas I had about the city; the most prominent of which is that Jerusalem isn't really on a hill. More like down in a ditch. I was always taught that it was a “city on a hill...” which is true if you’re coming to Jerusalem from fifty miles out. It is a truth for travelers.

    But once you get here, Jerusalem is down in a valley with mountains rising on almost every side. It’s not the lowest thing around, but it comes close. The entire two mile long ridge of Mount of Olives looks down on the city. It begs the question why David chose this spot for the capital city and eventually the Holy Temple of God. It seems to many who visit that the lower elevation would compromise the perception of divine credibility. “What kind of god lives in a hole?”

    I read Isaiah 2:2. “It shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the house of the Lord shall be established as the highest of the mountains, and shall be lifted up above the hills.” And I am reminded once again that God’s got a plan, and once again, it’s the very thing we don’t expect.

    I am learning that place participates with struggle. Let me explain that. As Jesus agonized in the Garden of Gethsemane over his impending death (which included not just extreme physical pain, but an encounter with the full-on wrath of God), the Judean Wilderness was right there. Within a half-day walk, Jesus could flee His purpose and be lost in the crags and canyons of the wild just to the East of the garden. From the Mount of Olives, Jesus could see a way out. This moment might be the closest we come to losing our salvation. He is on the cusp of walking away.

    We learned (an advantage to walking this land) that often in the Bible when someone walks to the east, bad things happen. Adam and Eve are cast to the East, the Tower of Babel is to the East, David flees to the East…

    So that night, even though he seemed ready to walk east, Jesus went west to Jerusalem and the cross.

    Standing in the olive trees, I could feel a tiny corner of His temptation to flee. It worried me and made me glad the fate of the world was not resting on these broken shoulders.
    Read more

  • Day13

    Day 1: Morning

    May 19, 2015 in Palestine

    Tozer taught that the teachings of Jesus were so deeply disturbing to the "natural mind" because it takes from sinful men, the power of self-determination. "It cuts the ground out from under their self-help and throws them back upon the sovereign good pleasure of God-and that is precisely where they do not want to be." I'm sitting here right outside of the old wall looking out over the city. This is said to be the site of the new Mt. Zion. I have to wait to get started to figure out exactly what that means, but suffice it to say everything just seems so normal. Cars honking, chain smokers, brakes squealing. Nothing "supernatural" here. Just a regular old city.

    Yet here I am in the place where the unnatural became natural. And I can see how easily that would get lost in puffs of exhaust from tired out old cars.
    Read more

  • Day25


    May 31, 2015 in Palestine

    Yesterday, we visited the Israel Museum and studied for our exam. As we wandered through the day, I was struck by a continued though I wanted to share. This whole idea of layering Bible stories, one on top of the other, onto a particular place has been such a revolutionary way of thinking about Scripture. I know I’ve talked about how this works before, but in case you haven’t read any of that, the basic idea is that each place carries with it stories from the history of Israel.

    In America, our history only goes back a few hundred years, so it’s harder to relate to this, but imagine the grassy-green field that Lincoln gave the Gettysburg Address. Now jump ahead four hundred years into the future, and this is also becomes the exact site where we regain our independence from some imagined occupation. Six hundred years after that, it becomes the place where a great battle is fought and thousands of faithful Christians lose their lives.

    Now, let’s take a little class of cute 6th graders to that very field and we’ll tell them about the world-changing events that happened on the soil under their sneakers. Can you start to understand what it means to layer events onto a place? To read the Bible “like a walker?” Pile up Biblical event upon Biblical event and then walk the land and see if there isn’t some connection.

    For example, we visited the city of Shechem. Not much to look at in the photos below, but this is the location of Jacob’s well. But, before I get to that, back in Genesis 12:1-7, this is where Abram built an altar to the Lord and God told him, “To your offspring, I will give this land.” This land. Where we stood. In Shechem. Then jump to Deuteronomy 27 and God is telling Moses to write the words of the law on stones and then, here at Shechem, Moses is to build an altar of stones and offer burnt offerings to God. Jump ahead yet again to Joshua 8 when Joshua renews the covenant with God and, just as Moses had done before him, he writes the words of the law on stones here at Shechem.

    That’s all very interesting, but then the next time we see this place, something much more sinister happens. In fact, the previous stories are stories of hope. Stories of forgiveness. But in 1 Kings 12 Rehoboam is made king on this very spot at Shechem and because of the oppression that he institutes, the Kingdom of Israel is split in two.

    Such a devastating and cataclysmic event happens on the very spot that God gives to Abram. The very spot that Moses and Joshua wrote the law of God out on stones. It seems like a dismal end to this sad little spot.

    But the story of Shechem isn’t over.

    Because this is also the site of John 4:4 when, by Divine guidance, Jesus is led to this very spot to have a conversation with a less-than-faithful woman from Samaria. Here, on the hard soil of Shechem, He speaks of the life-giving water he can provide to a thirsty woman. And then, for the first time we know of, Jesus publicly and clearly proclaims that He is the Messiah. “I who speak to you am He.” Here on this spot.

    Because on this spot, God is playing out the story of humanity. It is a story of faithfulness and infidelity. It is a story of remembering the laws of God and a story of forgetting the fear of God. It is the story of humanity’s up and down relationship with the Sovereign God.

    And this spot carries the story of Jesus who ultimately comes and fixes the mistakes. Of course He would do it here. The place is loaded.
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  • Day16

    Ancient Jericho

    May 22, 2015 in Palestine

    Read above, but I GPS'ed this spot with this footprint just to remember where we were.

    This is our professor Dr. John A. Beck. Kindred spirits in many ways, especially in our love for the wilderness and the Word of God. He's just a lot smarter than I am. :)

  • Day27

    Caesarea Philippi

    June 2, 2015 in Palestine

    Pagan worship: Pan, Ashera, etc. Several temples in this area. This is also the area where Jesus asked his disciples "Who do you say that I am?" When you're standing right here, you understand that saying you're the Messiah has significance in a place like this.

    That large cave in the photos was also believed to be the gate to the underworld. Near this place Jesus said to Peter, "On this rock I will build my church and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it."Read more

  • Day12

    Heute ging in die West Bank. Nachdem wir schon für halb verrückt gehalten wurden, dass wir in diesen Teil der Welt reisen, wollten wir jetzt aber auch nach Palästina. Und es war anders als man erwarten kann. Die Leute sind freundlich, die Atmosphäre ist friedlich und wir haben uns zu keinem Zeitpunkt unsicher gefühlt. Daneben gibt es auch hier viele interessante Orte, die man sehen sollte. Wir fuhren gleich am Morgen zunächst zum Fluss Jordan und zwar an die Stelle, an der Johannes der Täufer Jesus getauft haben soll. Aufgrund des vielen Regens in den letzten Tagen war der Stand des Wassers aber ziemlich hoch und nur wenige Meter weiter war auch schon die Grenze nach Jordanien. Hier finden sich auch viele christliche Pilger, die die Taufe nachspielten. Es gibt nur eine kleine Stelle, um an den Jordan zu kommen. Hintergrund ist, dass der Zufahrtsweg umzäunt ist, denn außerhalb der Straße und der Zäune befinden sich noch immer vereinzelt Landminen. Aber auch hier wurden wagenweise Touristen und Pilger herangefahren. Weiter ging es nach Jericho, was vor allem archäologisch sehr interessant ist, da es die tiefgelegenste Stadt und zugleich die (bislang wohl) älteste Stadt der Welt ist. Siedlungsspuren reichen bis in die Steinzeit vor über 10.000 Jahren zurück. Und der Wachturm der Stadt ist beinahe 8.000 Jahre alt. Während also woanders noch fleißig Mammuts gejagt wurden, baute man hier also schon Siedlungen. Bis in die Eisenzeit bis ca. 1.200 Jahre vor Christus gab es 23 verschiedene Besiedlungen des Standortes. Leider wurden die spannendsten Funde von den Briten mitgenommen. Aber die alten Siedlungsreste und der (schätzungsweise) 11 Meter hohe Wachturm sind sehr beeindruckend. Auch biblisch ist Jericho für Juden und Christen von grosser Bedeutung. Dies insbesondere im Hinblick auf die Landnahme von Kanaan, der Eroberung der Stadt und der Weihung der dortigen Quelle. Die Archäologen haben jedoch festgestellt, dass die Geschichten des alten Testaments sich zeitlich nicht mit den Funden decken. Seitdem werden noch weitere Grabungen im gesamten Tal unternommen (derzeit durch die Universität Rom), um ggf. weitere (jüngere) Siedlungen zu entdecken. Danach ging es nach Ramallah, welches nach Jerusalem die wichtigste Stadt für die Palästinenser ist. Die Stadt ist nicht wirklich groß, bot jedoch einen Einblick in die Alltagswelt der dortigen Menschen, die - welch Überraschung - sich kaum von anderen unterscheidet. Es wird auf dem Markt eingekauft, in Cafes Kaffee getrunken und Shisha geraucht sowie auf Laptops und Handys rumgedaddelt. Auch die Stadt war in keinem schlechten Zustand. Wir besuchten noch kurz das Mausoleum von Arafat und fuhren dann weiter in Richtung Betlehem. Dort nahmen wir dann Mittag zu uns und schauten uns eines der berühmten Graffiti von Banksy an (der Protestierende, der einen Blumenstrauß wirft). Danach ging es dann in die Geburtskirche, welche an dem Ort errichtet wurde an dem Jesus geboren sein soll. Auch dort befinden sich drei getrennte Bereiche für Katholiken, griechisch Orthodoxe und armenisch Orthodoxe. Für den Geburtsstein muss man üblicherweise bis zu 5 Stunden anstehen. Unser Guide schmuggelte uns jedoch irgendwie durch den Ausgang rein und wir waren nach knapp 10 Minuten auch schon wieder fertig. Wir hörten uns noch ein paar Geschichten an und erfuhren, dass der Ort für Christen und Muslime von großer Bedeutung ist (Jesus ist im Islam ein Prophet, aber nicht der Sohn Gottes und wird im Koran mit 26 Erwähnungen häufiger genannt als Mohammed mit 6 Erwähnungen). Nach der Geburtskirche ging die Reise weiter zu weiteren Graffitis und an der Mauer entlang, die Betlehem von Israel trennt. Hier haben in den letzten 15 Jahren verschiedene lokale und internationale Künstler ihren Protest ausgedrückt. Direkt an der Mauer befindet sich auch das Hotel mit dem schlechtesten Ausblick der Welt. Denn hier sind die Zimmern direkt auf die Mauer zugewandt. Dies natürlich mit voller Absicht. Das Hotel wird von den Leuten vor Ort betrieben und wurde von Banksy und anderen Künstlern von innen ausgestattet und gestaltet. Demzufolge findet man auch eine Galerie und ein Museum über den Konflikt im Hotel. Mittlerweile hat sich das Hotel auch zu einer Touristenattraktion gewandelt, da es internationale Bekanntheit erlangte. Die Mauer hinterließ jedoch das erste Mal an diesem Tage ein mulmiges Gefühl. So mehr wir über den Konflikt von beiden Seiten erfahren, so mehr wird auch bewusst wie kompliziert die Lage für alle Beteiligten ist. Wir fuhren dann anschließend wieder nach Jerusalem. Am Abend nahmen wir an einem Shabbat Teil und unterhielten uns noch lange mit anderen Reisenden. Erst spät ging es dann ins Bett.Read more

You might also know this place by the following names:

Palestine, Palästinensische Autonomiegebiete, Palestina, Palestaen West Bank ne Gaza, የፍልስጤም ግዛት, فلسطين, Fələstin Bölqüsü, Палестынскія тэрыторыі, Палестински територии, Palesitini, ফিলিস্তিন অঞ্চল, Tiriadoù Palestina, Palestinska Teritorija, Palestinská území, Tiriogaeth Palesteina, De palæstinensiske områder, པེ་ལིསི་ཊི་ནིཡ ན་ཊེ་རི་ངོ་རི, Palestinia nutome, Παλαιστινιακά Εδάφη, Territorios Palestinos, Palestiina ala, سرزمین‌های فلسطینی, Palestiin Sisjordani e Gaasaa, Palestiina, Palestinskt territorium, Territoire palestinien, Na Críocha Pailistíneacha, પેલેસ્ટિનિયન ટેરિટરી, Palasɗinu, השטחים הפלסטיניים, फ़िलिस्तीन, Palestinsko Područje, Palesztin Terület, Otoritas Palestina, Palestína, パレスチナ, პალესტინის ტერიტორია, Ukingo wa Magharibi na Ukanda wa Gaza wa Palestina, ប៉ាលេស្ទីន, ಪ್ಯಾಲಿಸ್ಟೇನಿಯನ್ ಪ್ರದೇಶ, 팔레스타인 지구, فەلەستین, Palesitayini, Palɛsine, Palestinos teritorija, Palesine, Palestīna, പാലസ്തീന്‍ പ്രദേശങ്ങള്‍, पॅलेस्टिनी प्रदेश, Palestinian Territory, ပါလက်စတိုင်း ပိုင်နက်, Palestinsk territorium, Palestinian West Bank and Gaza, प्यालेस्टनी भू-भाग, Palestijnse gebieden, ପାଲେସ୍ତେନିଆ, Terytoria Palestyńskie, فلسطین, Territórios palestinos, Territori Palestinais, Palesitina Wesitibanka na Gaza, Teritoriul Palestinian, Палестинские территории, Sêse tî Palestîni, පලස්තීනය, Palestínske územie, Palestinsko ozemlje, Falastiin Daanka galbeed iyo Qasa, Палестинске територије, Palestinska territoriet, பாலஸ்தீனியன் மாஹாணங்கள், పాలిస్తినియాన్ ప్రాంతం, ปาเลสไตน์, Potu Palesitaine, Filistin Bölgesi, Палестина, فلسطینی خطے, Lãnh thổ Palestine, Orílẹ́ède Iwọorun Pakisitian ati Gaṣa, 巴勒斯坦领土, i-Palestinian Territories

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