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Thursday, June 19, 2014


My oh my, my calves are going to be rock-hard after this trip.  The hike to every site is uphill both ways.  And it is HOT.  Triple-digit-training-for-the-Bearathon hot.  Black-interior-in-your-car-in-Texas-summer hot.  Think of the hottest weather you've been in... yeah, it's hotter than that.

First stop, Nebi Samwil.  This hilltop is the ((traditional)) site of the prophet Samuel's tomb, and currently hosts a synagogue/mosque combo, in peace.  Pretty neat.

That terraced hill is where Gibeon of Bible times was located.


Next we ventured a bit further from Jerusalem to the location of biblical Shiloh.  If you need a refresher from your Sunday school and Bible bowl days, Shiloh is where the tabernacle was located when the Israelites came into the promised land.  Crazy to see the ruins of where the Ark of the Covenant was housed.

exploring Shiloh
uphill trek
Carly and me, being olives, in an olive press
awkward family photo.  also, please note that you can like ancient Shiloh on Facebook.

On to Jericho!  I had never seen an oasis in real life, and it was striking to see all these palm trees and greenery growing up out of the surrounding wilderness.

and more wilderness...
BOOM.  Oasis.
Photo-Sean taking photos.  The bottom portion of that wall he's photographing is about 9,000 years old.  Not an exaggeration.
This portion of the site was a tower dating to 7,500 BCE.  That's 9,500 years old.  This tower goes all the way back to the time of Abraham.  CRAZY OLD.

Ok, so you know the story of Jericho - God says march around it for seven days, the last one blow trumpets and make noise, and the walls fall down?  Now, if you're taking down a wall in a more typical fashion, you would expect the wall to fall in towards the city (think battering rams, etc).  Well get this, the ((terrible)) picture below shows the wall falling outward.  Outward.  Which is not typical.  The way taking a city with trumpets is not typical.
Hard to tell because this picture isn't very good.  But it was 105 degrees (not exaggerating) so we're lucky I snapped one at all.

To wrap up the day, we headed back into the wilderness to get better acquainted with it.  This hike was maybe one of my favorites because it was so different.  The wilderness is 60 miles by 12 miles of land that doesn't sustain agriculture, and it is striking.  Pictures can't do it justice.  It's like looking at the Grand Canyon, or Niagara Falls, or the northern lights, or something.

David wrote Psalm 23 out here, while he was tending his sheep.  It changes things when green pastures and still waters must be found in the wilderness.  What faith David had to be confident in the Lord's provision when he was looking out at this barren landscape.  How beautiful.  How convicting.

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