We also went to the big six chambered gate that Solomon built. It is impressive, and again it is one of the three places that the Bible says he built up, and we find a gate just like this one in all three. So, we sang our six chambered gate song again, and had a great time. This is like touching Solomon.
My class inside the six chambers of the gate
My class jumping out of those six chambers
Then we went over to the watch tower that was built as they were preparing for the Assyrian invasion. On the way to it you can see a matsebah, a stone that became a focus of idolatry. As we talked about the destruction of Hazor by the Assyrians, we noted that this was the reason for it. As we have the chance to do so often, I asked the students to think about how they start out with something that may seem okay, but turns to idolatry. We went up to the watchtower and spoke of how the Assyrians conquered this place and from here they scattered Israel. I tried to give them a sense of how this was their family history. They are scattered Israel, our ancestors went forth from that place. We spoke of what we should do to prevent that from happening in our own life. I think it was some good stuff we talked about together. Then we went back to the gate and sang again. Fun stuff.
Alexia fighting with one of our two bus drivers, Ihab. Basam was the others. We really get to know and like these guys on the Galilee Field Trips.
From there we went to Tel Dan. That is such an incredible, beautiful place. We walked through beautiful forested area. We walked over the waters of the Jordan. We stopped at the place where it sprang from the rocks. The headwaters of the Jordan, the snowmelt from Hermon that literally springs out of the rocks there. At that place we talked about the difference between living water and water from cisterns. We talked about how that imagery is used in places like Jeremiah, and how the Savior drew on that imagery. From this imagery we talked about what it means to have Christ as our living water.
Class sitting on the very headwaters of the Jordan. Behind them s no water, in front of them water comes out of the rocks through a carst system
Kaleb and Jacob on the water that springs out from the Carst. The above picture of my students has them looking right towards Kaleb and Jacob (I may have been standing in between them droning on and on about stuff).
From there we walked to the high place, the spot where Jereboam built golden calves for Israel to worship. Again we spoke of the way that we worship both the Lord and the world at the same time. I gave them some time to think for a while. This is really ground zero for the fall of Israel. They fell because of what Jereboam introduced there. It may have seemed like a small deviation at the time, but it led to destruction. It is as significant a site in Israelite history as one can visit.
My class pondering at the High Place of Dan
My class jumping off the High Place of Dan
I tried to stop them, but my students still did a sacrifice there
We also looked over the area that had been the country’s border. Then we went to the Middle Bronze age gate of Tel Dan. Since Abraham rescued Lot when he had been taken to Dan, it is quite likely that he would have gone through that gate as he came to get him.
The Middle Bronze gate at Tel Dan
Then we did the two large gates on the outer walls of the city. One still has the remains of the place where the ruler of the area would have sat as he met with the people, dispensed judgments, etc. The other was where they found the Tel Dan Inscription, the oldest text that mentions the house of David. Fun stuff. And absolutely gorgeous. This is a very pretty place.
The place for the ruler of Dan to sit in judgment
From there we went to Banias, which is also known as Caesarea Phillipi. There we look at more of the headwaters of the Jordan, where the water springs forth. It was in the borders of this town that Peter said he knew Jesus was the Christ, the son of the living God. We talked about what it meant for him to know and bear testimony of that. We talked about the rock of revelation, and particularly Apostolic testimony born of revelation. I bore my testimony of Jesus Christ, the son of God. We sang, and had some pondering time.
The headwaters of the Jordan at Banias/Caesarea Phillipi
We also ate lunch. It was great. From there we went to a waterfall. The hike was hot, the fall was wonderful.
Must have been hot, people were buying hats and ice cream
And then we went off to Nimrod’s castle. I had told people that if they wanted to they could buy swords and bring them. Many did. We lined up, and I gave the speech that Theoden gave as Rohan charged near Minas Tirith. I struck all their swords, and then we charged the castle. It was pretty fun. I think everyone enjoyed it. I spent the rest of the time exploring the castle with Jacob. He had so much fun. Really, how many four year olds get to use their imagination as they play by running around a real castle. We killed crocodiles in the moat, monsters, bad guys, good guys, and all sorts of bats. We really did see bats. We went through tunnels, and in and around towers and dungeons. He had a great time, and while I didn’t explore the castle as I usually do, I had a lot of fun. Nothing could be better than helping your four year old boy play in a real castle. Last time was Kaleb time, this time was Jacob time. And in Jordan I had two castles that were BJ time. Me and my boys in castles. Pretty cool!
Where we killed the croc at Nimrod's Castle
From there we drove to Har Bin Tal, where we can look down into Syria. Everyone loves the view. Frank did the teaching there, and from the parts I heard, it was great. I didn’t hear a lot. Again, I was chasing down Jacob. Julianne had never been there, and wanted to know about the place. So she listened, and I chased. They have a full set of bunkers there from when it was part of the war area. That kid can run fast through stuff like that, and under and around things I can’t. Most of the time I wasn’t fully sure where he was, and I was always going as fast as I could but lagging behind. He is hard to keep up with. I think he had a lot of fun. So did the other of our younger kids. It is nice that sometimes they get to just run and play and not worry about things. Fun stuff, fun day. So much adventure, and yet so much spiritual power.
We may have worn these guys out