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Wind, Water, Wine

May 13, 2009


Wednesday, 4:03 pm local time


We’ve been driving past Israeli soldiers in their olive green uniforms for the better part of three hours now. A little while ago, we passed a column of tanks, a tent city, and what I took to be a UN demilitarized zone, given all the different kinds of flags. We were in the occupied Golan Heights today, and now we are in the bus driving back down the Jordan River to Jericho.

Staying and playing with the kids at Ibillin rushed our itinerary a bit today. We stopped first at Tel Dan, yet another tel, but an important one archeologically. It was here at Tel Dan that scholars first found an inscription about “Be’it David,” the House of David. This is one of the few physical references we have outside the Bible to the Davidic dynasty. Of course, this reference went unnoticed for a while, as when the Israeli scholars first uncovered it, they unknowingly displayed it upside-down. The forest around Tel Dan is gorgeous, greener than En Gedi, with a natural spring of water that gushes down the mountain clearer than any water we’ve seen, but we pressed on quickly

Benias was next. Samir had Gordon read to us the story of Simon Peter’s confession of Christ, and he pointed out that the metaphor of the rock makes sense in Israel because of the ubiquity of rocks in the land – people built things on and out of rocks all the time, so telling Peter he was the rock did not necessarily give him a special place, only that he would be used to build the church. Benias also has a natural source of water which flows fast and clear down the mountain; also, a temple to the Greek god Pan. Yeeep.

After falafal lunch (finally, falafal!), we headed deep into the Golan Heights to the Golan Height Winery, an-all kosher vineyard that bottles something on the order of 40 different types of wines. We toured the winery and saw how the wine was barreled, bottled, and boxed, and then the group got the opportunity to taste some of the vintages. I didn’t partake, but I’ll tell you that there are many smiling faces in the bus right now, despite the tanks in the distance.

We’re staying in the Intercontinental again back in Jericho, and we’re headed there tonight. I’ll wrap up after we all meet together, our first group debrief since Arad. So much has happened in just five days – one week left.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Tom Davis permalink
    May 13, 2009 12:25 pm

    wish I did not have to work today. I could read your blog all day. What an amazing, GINORMOUS time you must be having!!!

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