We did a lot of driving on this day. We started in the luscious western part of the country and saw Beth Shemesh (birthplace of Samuel). This land was given to tribe of Dan, but they were ultimately not able to hold it and moved north above Galilee. Think Ceseria Phillipi area. Next we went to Gezer the "front door" to the hill country. And drove east and had lunch and Nebi Samwil (the supposed burial site of Samuel). This is one of the tallest locations in all of the hill country. With great views of modern and ancient Jerusalem and Ramallah. This was and has been a strategic hill through out the history of the land. On clear days they say you can see from the Mediterranean Sea to the Dead Sea. Impressive. This day it was not clear.
Next we traveled thorough the Benjamin Wilderness to Jericho. It was hot. 110 Degrees in the shade. The site at Jericho had been picked clean, but it is a place where many springs feed a otherwise desolate area. The next part of my day was my favorite. We stopped in the Judean Wilderness close to the old road that lead from Jericho to Jerusalem. This is the road Jesus walked several times and the road where the parable of the good Samaritan is set.
As some of you may know Anna and I have been going through something of a wilderness time for the last several months. I will spare all the details. We do not feel abandoned, only that God is stripping away the unnecessary parts of our life. Seeing the wilderness is what I was looking forward to the most. My Dad took this picture of me, and it struck me through the heart as I feel this picture captures aspects of my life. Only when you look close you see the oases along the bottom of the Kelt Wadi. These areas of green sustained people and flocks in this wilderness. My oases is my wife and kids. I am in the wilderness, but it is not joyless because of my family. God has used them to sustain me and we will be His people as we cross over the Mt of Olives and into the land that God has prepared for us. Only we will not be faithless and we will not back down and we will not give in.
My last thought from this day is the vast difference between the east side of Jerusalem and the west. Within 10 miles the land changes significantly. This last picture is from the Rephaim Canyon where we started our day. This picture below tells it all.
Be Blessed - DC