Pictures from day 8: Jordan River, Qumran, and Tamar

Another full day with an awesome adventure towards the south of the country, through time and culture. You can review the summary of our day at the river,  in the caves, and at the digs here!

And so, we start our day going down to the Jordan River. There are places that say that this spot here or this spot there is where Jesus was baptized. Regardless, it was the Jordan, and it was a special time for the people shown below!

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Some spoke of their journey, some declared a simple sentence. Here is a brief testimony from a wonderful couple:

After they dried of and changed, we went on our way to the Qumran, the place where the dead sea scrolls have been found, and where they are still doing some digging. It was really fascinating walking through time to view a glimpse of the “Dead Sea sect” that preserved so faithfully the scriptures of what they believed what we believe. It was pretty amazing and surreal!

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After we left there, we journeyed to Tamar Park, by way of the Salt Sea (experience to follow!) Tamar Park is this incredible archaeological treasure that reveals at least seven periods of Biblical history. You can see some of the pictures, and many of the historical figures that have helped to shape Israel’s existence.

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Galilee and the Jordan River Valley

So, we left the Jerusalem hustle and bustle and headed north towards Galilee. Very quickly outside of the city, we met with the desert once again, and began passing through the Jordan River valley. We passed a checkpoint and said “Boker Tov” to nice friendly army soldier with friendly smiles and big guns. We drove by the Kinneret (the Sea of Galilee) as we passed into the region. It is Israel’s single largest reservoir, and it is shrinking at an alarming rate. From living in Austin through the drought and watching the lake levels drop through the years, and just seeing the levels come up this last year, I know a place to pray for rain. Just saying. We touched on Teverya (Tiberius), where we would come back and stay, and went through Migdol, or Magdela. I remember a story or two that may have come from that area, do you?

We visited a place near the Kinneret where and ancient boat from 2000 years ago (more pictures to come, and here’s the link from Joined to HaShem with other pictures), then went a sailing on the sea, around and on which about 90% of the events of the gospels took place. The owner was a Jew who, after taking many people, Christian groups, out on his boat and hearing the message over and over, gave his life to Yeshua, and has been praising and worshipping Him in song ever since. He sang a couple of songs for us, and then he played a recording that Hillsong United did on his boat of Oceans (Where Feet May Fail). As soon as I can, I will upload it; it’s imperfect, with talking in the background, but I will tell you something: that song has always had an impact on me, the story of Peter has always had an impact on me, and listening to that song, sailing over that sea, seeing that story in my mind, and being where I am in life… there are not enough words in any language that I speak to describe the overwhelming sense that I had. I would say that was a defining moment, but I couldn’t define it for you. I kind of was there for the rest of the day. Here is their recording of that moment; again, I will post mine when I can.

The rest of the day to me was a view of beauty and history. We passed the probable places where the miracle of the loaves and fishes happened, and also the mount of the Beatitudes. We went to the temple where Yeshua probably taught. There was a “new temple” (in ruins) there, but underneath, you could see the darker volcanic stones that were from that time period where the original stood. Can you sense how awe inspired I am? As we saw the nature preserve and natural park and a view of The Galil, and heard a description of how lush and green it would be after the rainy season really began, it seemed a very touching and fitting end to our full day. And yet there is still more to come!! And there was evening, and there was morning, day 6!

Daddy

I wrote this poem some years ago, and I loved it then. But after I heard a teaching, I realized that I needed to make a change. The poem was about Yeshua, but as I went over it in my mind, I realized that all the attributes were of God the Father. There are many ways to interpret that, but I will just leave it at how much I love and trust my Daddy.

Daddy

El Shaddai?
– Yes dear.
I crawl into His lap and
look into His eyes.
I study His face,
memorize Him by touch.
– Nothing.
I just want to know You.
– I know, He smiles.

Abba!
Frightened by the storms,
I cling to Him.
– Yes, My child.
He becomes a strong shelter;
a Rock that draws me near,
One who is not shaken.
– Nothing.
I just want to know You’re there.
His strong arms protect me.
– I know.

Papa God
I cry.
I sob with a bleeding broken heart
dejected, rejected in my hands.
– Yes, My love.
He takes the heart,
bruised and battered by people and life,
and exchanges it for His.
Restored and whole,
I draw near to Him.
– Nothing.
I just want to hear Your voice,
feel Your love.
– I know, He says
and draws me to Himself.

Daddy?
– Yes, precious.
I look with love into His face,
nestled against His chest,
enthralled by His heartbeat.
As I sit in His presence,
absolutely embraced
in His powerfully loving arms,
words fail me;
not even necessary.
I enjoy just…
Him.
– I know.

Going Through the Valley

I have a poem I wrote during 40 days of fasting and praying. I like poetry and prose, it’s what I do, and it sometimes expresses things better than a whole bunch of words. One unique thing about this one is that it was a journey. I began it at the beginning of the 40 days, and finished it at the end. It still calls stuff out of my heart…

Through the Valley

Psalms 139, 23

Storms rage, the winds roar
The foundation shakes but stands whole
I hang on to that, my rock, my faith
The world tremors and crumbles
And I hold fast.
Then a whirlwind comes
Everything – Everything disappears
And my heart is plunged into blackness.
There have been many trials
Many obstacles, many attacks
Hurts have cut deep
as to leave me breathless,
And, I’ve found my way home.
And yet,
I stand here trembling.

It has never been so dark.

Lord…

There are no words
Nothing that even begins to flesh out
My desperation,
My need,
My heart’s cry.
The Valley of the Shadow of Death has found me
And I can’t even find the light that makes the shadow.
One step.
Another.
Making my way through the valley,
Broken,
Shattered,
Convinced of my Elohim and who He is
But feeling so alone,
So overwhelmed by the darkness.
A whisper of breath,
An ethereal caress,
And assurance settles deep in my heart.
“Yeshua can find you in the darkness.”
A hand holds mine
And walks along side of me,
Guiding me through the darkness,
No longer overwhelming or frightening,
But surrounding us in intimacy.

Yeshua…

His presence turns my upside down world
Into absolute peace.
The storms, the winds, the darkness-
Nothing matters.
He fills me and restores my soul.
It takes flight and I proclaim:
He is Everything!
My Everything!