A Travellerspoint blog

Day 5- Sea and Mountains

Good evening everyone! We are writing this blog sitting on the hallway floor in the basement of our hotel. The lobby does not have any outlets to plug the laptop into. So Kelsey and I found one in the hallway outside Mr. Don’s room. We are getting very strange looks from everyone who walks by. We are staying on an ultra-orthodox Jewish Kibbutz, by the way. Men and women have separate entrances to the beach, separate swimming hours in the pool. Everyone is dressed very modestly. The majority of the women wear head wraps or coverings, the men all have tzitziot and kippot on, some have the long sidelocks and tall black hats. Because we dress modestly, we kind of fit in that way. However because many of our women wear tzitziot, we attract a lot of attention. I have a lot of people talking to me in Hebrew, though…they obviously think I am Israeli for some reason.

After a huge Israeli breakfast, we began our day at Capernaum, the site of many of Yeshua’s miracles. Much of his ministry took place in Capernaum. My Dad taught about the story of the centurion’s servant, and the man who was let down through the roof, and how we can apply it to our life and walk out our faith. We saw the excavated house that belonged to Peter's mother in law. A church has since been built suspended over the site.
Some pictures of our amazing group here:
After Capernaum we drove to the Nof Ginnosar Kibbutz, where we boarded our boat to sail across the Sea of Galilee. It was a beautiful day, and there was a light breeze blowing across the Sea. Just being out there, surrounded by the water and mountains, was so peaceful. It just so happened that the owner of the boat was a Messianic Jew. As we began sailing, he played the Star Spangled Banner and Hatikvah, the Israeli national anthem. After those were over, I went up on the bow facing into the wind. It was so beautiful. Suddenly the music switched to a song “Oceans” by the Hillsong worship group. Listening to the song talking about walking upon the waters and trusting Him and keeping your eyes above the waves- all while sailing on the very sea that He sailed on, the same sea that He walked upon…it created such a depth of connection to the song that I have never felt before. I could have spent hours out there just listening to the worship music. We ended up finding out that the song he played was recorded by HIllsong on the very boat we were sailing on. Wow. He played a song about us being Yeshua’s bride and waiting for Him to come dance with us. That was impactful too. My dad did a teaching when he shut off the engines in the middle of the lake. Sadly, our time was limited out there. All too quickly it was over and we were back to shore.

From there we headed up to the Golan Heights again, this time from the opposite side, and stopped in the community of Kiryat Shmona for lunch. The thing that is so amazing about the community is that it is a modern Israeli city, with an American-like shopping mall. Yet just a few years ago when Hezbollah attacked again, rockets rained down on Kiryat Shmona to the point where the residents were forced to spend nearly their entire lives in the bomb shelters. Yet that did not stop tehm from carrying on their lives like normal. They are only a few miles from the border with Lebanon, and not far from Syria…within range of over a hundred thousand rockets. Yet they do not live in fear.

Once we finished lunch, we headed to the very northern tip of Israel near Mount Hermon, to the Banias River, the headwaters of the Jordan. The water up there rushes like rivers we hae around New England, yet is so pure (it springs from the ground under Mount Hermon) that we could fill our bottles and drink the water. It is cold and sweet. So good.
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Within the same park are the ruins of Tel Dan, an ancient Biblical city. We saw the gate to the city, but did not walk around the archaeological site because of time restrictiosns. We headed down the path that goes through the nature reserve, and half of us ended up getting separated from the rest of the group because Moshe told us to go ahead. When we reached the end, Andrew and I ran (literally) all the way back to catch up with them.
But by that point there were two more sections, so Moshe told us to get everyone we found on the bus. After running back and forth twice for a good distance in the humidity and heat, I was so exhausted that I could hardly stand.

Once everyone had finished there, we headed to Malkiyya, a kibbutz which sits directly on the border of Lebanon. We visited the place last time we were in Israel, 3 years ago, and the same man, EItan, who led us then was there again. We told him that we had returned with a baby that was named after the kibbutz, and showed him our Malkiyah. He was so moved he nearly began crying. DSC_0367.jpgC89819280315D3076B70CC1E6F241842.jpg
Eitan took us to a brigade of IDF soldiers that guard the border of Lebanon. It was an amazing visit, we made some connections personally with the soldiers. They are all so young, yet so committed. Each day these soldiers face an enemy that wants nothing more than to see them dead. They have to live with this reality every day. Because of security reasons I am unable to post pictures of them online. But it was an amazing meeting.
He brought us to the very edge of the border. On Israel's side of the fence kiwi and nectarine orchards grow; on the Lebanese side are fields of opium, tobacco, and marijuana. A car was parked on a road near the border and we found out that the men standing near it were members of Hezbollah. They watch the border and know everything that happens on the Israeli side. They very well knew we were there. We had one of the soldiers standing behind us to protect us, facing the border and watching like a hawk every movement. It was a very interesting experience most tourists do not have the opportunity to have.
Tonight Eitan showed up with shirts from Malkiyya. He kept telling us we are like family. It is true. Wherever we go in Israel we form connections and relationships with people that go deeper than family. For me, this is more home than Massachusetts. This is my real family. I really wish I could just stay here, live here among these people. The strength of their faith, the courage they possess, the deep commitment to each other, the family atmosphere…it is all just so real here. These people don’t just talk about faith, nor is their commitment to God just something they talk about. But they live it out every day of their lives. Just being here in Israel is an act of faith for them. Surrounded by people who want to kill them and destroy them, their whole goal still is making the world a better place. And they will accomplish it with or without help…because they have God’s help.

So yet another day here in Israel full of adventures and divine encounters. I will write in the morning. Shalom from the Sea of Galilee!

Posted by Jordan Long 19:49 Archived in Israel

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