Calvary Chapel Israel Tour - Day 5
March 15 - 27, 2009

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Day 5 - Saturday, March 20

Saturday is Shabbat in Israel - which is most people's only day off.  We saw a lot of people biking, going out for picnics, and taking long walks.  Thankfully Amir knew of some places to take us that were open on that day so we still got in a full day of touring.  On this day we visited: Gamla / Kursi / Korazin / Caparnaum / and sort-of Tiberius.

We picked up some friends for our early morning run on this morning - Chris & a mutt from the Kibbutz.  We also were treated to a very powerful smell during part of the run.  Maybe they fertilize with manure in that area - if so, it should be very fertile! 

 We stayed a lot more focused this time & had a good run.  
 Here we are on the "off road" portion of the run. They provided exercise equipment along the trail - which
was basically a jungle gym for grown ups.
   The Mennonite girls from Pennsylvania were singing
 here before we got on the bus that morning - it was lovely.


    More fun with bad translations.
I hate it when the lifeguard is not on puty.  
 The Jordan river, north of the Sea of Galilee
These are dolmens in the area which are prehistoric tombs used for burial in the basalt areas where grave digging is difficult.
  There was speculation that these could be associated with the Anakim mentioned in Numbers & Deuteronomy.
 Wildflowers in the Yehudiya Nature Reserve




Information about Gamla from The name of Gamla comes from the Arabic word for camel, gamal, because of its curious shape. The ridge is surrounded on three sides by ravines and looks a bit like the back of a camel. The eastern end of the ridge has a high hump. Gamla was established on the southern side, in the "saddle." The city existed already in the Early Bronze time (about 5000 years ago), but it is mostly known as a rebel town in the First Jewish War. After a fierce fight against the Romans all its 9000 citizens were killed.

Because of this harrowing event, Gamla sometimes received the nickname "the Masada of the North." To readers of the story in Josephus' Wars it seemed that a large part of the Gamla citizens found their death when they jumped from the rock, which vaguely parallels the collective suicide in Masada. If you don't know the story of Masada, don't worry - we'll come to that in a few days.  


Our tour guide Amir told us that the commander of the northern Jewish troops was Yosef Ben Matityahu.  The Jewish people who were rebelling against the Romans were living in Gamla.  For six months the Romans besieged the city.  It is said that most of them died during the brutal fighting, but the final residents jumped off the cliff to avoid being forced to convert to paganism as Roman slaves.  

Amir tells us that Yousef Ben Matityahu organized the final suicide but then didn't go through with it himself.  He ended up getting the favor of the leaders of the Roman forces: Flavius Vespasian and his son Titus, both of whom later became Roman emperors.  He was eventually adopted by them and took the name Titus Flavius Josephus.  He became a chronicler for the Romans during the next several decades. Wikipedia differs somewhat in its story of Josephus, but I'm going to stick with Amir's version.


Me, Lena, & the gang - looking cool in our shades.  Eric, with Gamla in the background.  He needed some shades.

There we a lot of these guys flying around this area.


 Now here I am with Gamla in the background.
Lena had those MBT shoes with rounded bottoms 
and almost fell over while getting shots of the vultures.
   See the snail on the flower?  

I thought this was a funny thing to name your tour company. 
I would expect to have eggs thrown at the tour bus with a name like that. 

  The "Bulls of Bashan" are mentioned in Psalm 22 - 
which is a Psalm describing the crucifixion of 
Jesus that was written 1,000 years before it happened.  
(More on that here if you want to learn more.)



Sometimes when Amir didn't know something he enjoyed 
making up an answer and stating it with conviction.  Thus,
these flowers are now known as "golden chandelieria." 




 I got Nanci from Arizona in this picture to help
 show the size of that Aloe-Vera looking plant.  


Next stop: Kursi / Gadara / Gadarenes / Gerasene 

I'm not sure why this area had so many names. This was the site where Jesus cast the demons out of the man who called himself Legion.    

Teaching: Pastor David



Mark Chapter 5 took place here.  Not only does the Bible give the name of the town, but it mentions the man coming "out of the tombs" and you can see the tombs up on the hillside.  This side of the Sea of Galilee was mostly Gentile at that time.  

In Mark 4:35-40 Jesus told his disciples that he wanted to cross the sea.  It was during this crossing that the storm came up and the disciples got so fearful, then Jesus calmed the sea.  We learned about that storm in a teaching on Day 3

Mark Chapter 5 relates what happened when they got there:  Then they came to the other side of the sea, to the country of the Gadarenes. And when He had come out of the boat, immediately there met Him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit,  who had his dwelling among the tombs; and no one could bind him, not even with chains, because he had often been bound with shackles and chains. And the chains had been pulled apart by him, and the shackles broken in pieces; neither could anyone tame him.  And always, night and day, he was in the mountains and in the tombs, crying out and cutting himself with stones.

When he saw Jesus from afar, he ran and worshiped Him.  And he cried out with a loud voice and said, “What have I to do with You, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I implore You by God that You do not torment me.” 

For He said to him, “Come out of the man, unclean spirit!”  Then He asked him, “What is your name?”

And he answered, saying, “My name is Legion; for we are many.”  Also he begged Him earnestly that He would not send them out of the country.

Now a large herd of swine was feeding there near the mountains. So all the demons begged Him, saying, “Send us to the swine, that we may enter them.” And at once Jesus gave them permission. Then the unclean spirits went out and entered the swine (there were about two thousand); and the herd ran violently down the steep place into the sea, and drowned in the sea.
  Mark 5:1-13

The man was grateful for what Jesus had done for him and wanted to go with, but instead Jesus sent him out into the 10 cities in the area to proclaim what had happened to him.  Jesus essentially made him the first Gentile evangelist.   This seems to always be Jesus' heart - that we take the blessings he gives to us and share them, not just keep them to ourselves.

And when He got into the boat, he who had been demon-possessed begged Him that he might be with Him. However, Jesus did not permit him, but said to him, “Go home to your friends, and tell them what great things the Lord has done for you, and how He has had compassion on you.” And he departed and began to proclaim in Decapolis all that Jesus had done for him; and all marveled.
Mark 5:18-20

An important point to note is that this seems to be the only reason that Jesus crossed the sea, and during a storm no less.  Jesus is willing to cross the sea in a storm for each and every one of us.  Hallelujah!!




Here we all troop up the 
hill to see the tombs.

There was a lot of "trooping
up hills" on this trip - which
was great since we also ate 
so much! 

What do you think?  Is this a real smile or another smirk?
I think this one might just be real.
Old mosaic floors from structures that were built 
outside the tombs.  
Here I poach a picture of "the girls" as we all called them. 
They were very sweet - and so adventurous to take a trip like this!  
I really liked this tuft of grass, do you?

 This was a neat thing that would write Matthew 5 in the sand in 6 languages if you pushed it around the circle. 

Rigert & Alex getting it "just so" Next we had lunch at the Jesus Boat Cafe, it was good!
Fun with the sign used to save our seats at the cafe. 
This was our driver, Yehuda, Pastor Ken, and our guide Amir Tsarfati.


The next two sites were very near each other: Chorazin & Capernaum
Here we are at Korazin / Chorazin - one of the cities Jesus cursed. 
Jesus did a great many miracles here but the people refused to repent.
Then He began to rebuke the cities in which most of His mighty works had been done, because they did not repent: “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works which were done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I say to you, it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in the day of judgment than for you.
  Matthew 11:20-22


Here Amir sets up a demonstration that was really amazing.
I had never considered what life would be like for Jesus after
He began performing public miracles.  
 Zach Sumner, photo sniper.
Amir had us imagine that we were very ill and we had just heard a man
was coming to town who could heal us if we could just get to him.
Then he had Eric walk down the street and told us to act how we would act if we believed that touching him would heal us.  It was a madhouse - and actually quite disturbing for him.   
 A look at the ruins. There was usually a seat of honor in each synagogue which I think they called the Moses seat.  This is a reconstruction of the one found here. 
 Some of the decorative 
 detail that survived.

Next we traveled to Capernaum. This is an arial view that Piper got from a tourist sign.

Amir told us that the city name was a corruption of its original name, "Kfar Nahum" which, 
when pronounced, sounds kind of like Capernaum.  


This city was a chief commercial and social center during the ministry of Jesus.  Jesus treated
this city as his home town during his ministry years.  And leaving Nazareth, He came and dwelt 
in Capernaum, which is by the sea
... Matthew 4:13  It was also the home town of Simon Peter.

Many Biblical events happened here, including: 
  • Jesus was met by the centurion and healed his servant.  Matthew 8:5-13
  • Jesus heals Peter's mother-in-law and many others.  Matthew 8:14-17


  • Jesus casts out the demon in the synagogue.  Mark 1:21-25
  • Jesus raised Jarius' daughter from the dead.  Matthew 9:23-26 


This space-ship looking thing is a Catholic church, which they have built directly
above the location believed to be Simon Peter's house.  The main clue that this was
his home is the way it was repeatedly expanded over the years.  Since churches
met in people's homes back then it makes sense that Peter would have to expand
to accommodate the growing number of believers.  


This is a look at Peter's house
below the space ship church.

Looking over the ruins.  

 Lena almost got an unwelcome friend in the form of 
 a mangy stray cat while she sat here.  
I think this was an olive oil press.


Teaching: Pastor Mark

Pastor Mark taught us that through the various miracles Jesus performed here, we see that He has power over: death, disease, and demons.  

A big thing in Jewish belief is to avoid being defiled.  Touching the dead, lepers, bleeding women, and many other things were to be avoided at all costs in order to keep from defiling oneself.  Yet Jesus sought out these very types of people and laid hands on them.

The one thing in Jewish belief that cannot be defiled is the Torah (which is their name for the first five books of the Bible.)  John Chapter 1 tells us, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."  Jesus touched the sick and dead without being defiled because He was the Word of God too.  

These are the ruins of the synagogue built quite 
a long time after Jesus. 

That was all of our touring for the day so we returned to the hotel. 
We did drive through Tiberius and the bus stopped for awhile so Pastor Ken could go 
pick up a camera thing he needed, so I say we 'kind of' saw Tiberius. 

That night Kendall, Eric, and Chris decided to play a little basketball.  Sadly, that outing ended poorly. 
In a vacation centered mostly around walking, a serious sprain to your ankle is a very bad thing.  
Chris messed his ankle up in a first class manner. 

Icing it in the lobby right before Lena taped it for him.  Helping him to dinner.

When we got to dinner, I tried to help Chris put his foot in the chair opposite to him.
Instead, I ended up cramming the chair straight into his hurt foot.  Unfortunately, I have
a very sick sense of humor that is sometimes triggered by the pain of others, so I could
not immediately show the proper level of remorse for my mistake.  Sorry Chris!!


 A shot of a wonderful stir-fry they did that night. Finding an easier way to "haul Chris" 

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