Wow, what a spectacular, incredible, unbelievably amazing, stupendous, simply wow!
Today we had to get up earlier, about 7am. D went off to the King David hotel to pick up another, and bigger rental car, as we needed room for Avi (our guide for the day). After he left the kids got up and dressed and fed just in time as he and Avi pulled up and we were able to go straight from the breakfast table and out the door (Mummy frantically washing up the dishes from cereal as they put on their shoes and then took them off and put them on again, this time on the correct feet).
We pulled out of here around 8:30 to start our jam packed day. To start with the drove North, through past the security wall. Which in fact is only 10% built and doesn't stop anyone really as they can go through the drainage system. All this fuss about a "security wall" that barely covers any area at all. Where we drove through it ended nearby where we could see with our own eyes the truth of this fact.
So yes, we drove into Area "B" and up through we think Hawara (in any case it was an Arab town) all the way to Elon Moreh. Here we parked, got out and had a perfect lookout over to Mt Gerizim and Mt Ebal even able to pick out the ancient altar which has been dated back to the time of Joshua with binoculars. It is not safe to go up there as it is near Nabulus. Everywhere we got there are fragments of pottery, and the children were given bits that Avi picked up. He was simply great with the Goons, relating it to them, asking them questions, even squeezing an ripe olive to show the oil coming out from it.
All the way along the road Avi was pointing out so much info and then kept having us get out the Bible, open it up and read it! Amazing, simply amazing!
So anyways, we jumped back into the car with our open Bibles and headed back through Hawara as we had to get through there before the kids (esp the teenagers) got out of school and started throwing rocks.
So we got through no problem and headed towards Shilo (Shiloh) which was incredible. The remains of the town ARE STILL THERE!
Think about that for just a sec.
Stop and think.
We know that the accounts in the Scriptures are true.
Do we really realize that the evidence is there.
In Shilo you walk through the gate, and down the ACTUAL path, past the foundations of store houses where the wheat, oil and wine was kept for the offerings. Then you round the corner and there is a flat place. Get this....the ONLY FLAT place large enough for the Tabernacle. and it is surrounded by a low wall. Here it is. The actual place where Samuel lay down and slept near the door where God called to him, where Hannah poured out her heart to God. Where Eli fell and died (okay that was at the gate and the gate is there! and Avi had Micah act it out for us).
Yeah that really took my breath away. One thing to hear about it, another thing to climb over the rocks and pick up pottery and get "Israeli scrapes" as Princess calls them (yes, she got another one today and was so pleased!)
As we left they were having a "big wigs" meeting about this town, which is in fact a town. Actual built houses, not exactically what you picture when you here the word "settlement". We are talking about families homes with flowers out front, toys and bikes in the small parking place or side walk. Strollers. I read an article recently that discribed them as subarbs of Jerusalem...but I digress,
We also saw a model of the Tabernacle and watched a short video of the Scriptural accounts that took place there, including the destruction of it by the Philistines. Which is why it is preserved so well as they burnt it and it was barely used afterwards in History.
Avi found and gave to Princess and hunk of white pottery that is curved and clearing part of something. He said probiblly part of the edge of the top of a large pot. She was thrilled!
See pottery, laying everywhere.
Then we headed to Bet-El (Bethel) and what a wonderful time we had there. Magoo thought the bits of the solider lookout towers and 2 army bases and seeing them practice shooting was all "so cool", I think we need to have the whole concienous objection chat again with a certain little man.
First we drove around a bit, about 6,000 people. Regular houses (small by North American standards) and caravans and apartments full of people there becuase of their faith in the promises to Abraham.
We drove through and right up to the top, the oldest section of the hill where there is a Biblical timeperiod cave burial (look it up in Genesis!) and the probible place of Jereboam's fake temple. This is the thing, I always pictured a town as in the size of a small city in Canada. The hilltops are not that big. AND it is definate from discriptions and wqhen you go there it isn't "oh well maybe it can be the next hill" no it is obvious!
Then we got to see a school there which has been in the Bible Magazine. So amazing listening to these 6 year olds recieting Genesis from the begining...and we have kids that complain about a single memory verse a week, pathetic!
We spent quite a bit of time there, chatting with the kids and looking at the walls that have posters of Noah's ark, the Tabernacle, the vessels of the Temple, all Bible stuff!
Then we visited across the road where the Jr highschool has been set up (7-8) and through a girls Yeshiva (part regular building part caravans) and then down past the ritual Mikveh (closed so the guys couldn't go in) and then into Arutz-7. One of the guys there was from Canada before he made Alyiah and he even hooked Magoo up to a mike and recorded him for a commercial for Eyesh Chyl (Woman of Valour) that I listen too. Wasn't expecting that so it was so cool. Except he wasnted to "interview" Magoo and he froze and was all "I don't rememeber, I don't know" ARGH mother's frustration.
They sort of remembered Dad and asked if we were Christians from Philidelphia and I just had to laugh as we get that all the time instead of Christadelphians. Asked to buy shirts and they couldn't find any....oh well we can always order them off the internet.
Well to get back to Jerusalem Avi had us pick up a hitch hiker that was heading here which at first I wasn't so sure of but he made sure they knew where they were going and everything. It was great a real genuine Israeli experience. Afterall Bet-el is only 15 min from the outskirts of Jerusalem! Settlement my foot.
Dinner was in again, as the kids had been SO good and needed some time to goof off and run around and simply play. So as D returned the rental we made salad (you don't need dressing as everything is so fresh and gorgeous) and lipton's feticinni alfredo that was brought over in the suitcase. We have now just about gotten through all the food we brought (well we only brought some basics) and so we will be able to eat out more now as we get more tired.
D is looking through video clips from today, and we weren't taping when we thought always. Oh dear, but still some gems. Of course the clip of the Area "A" sign (another rant but I'll leave it for now) was all a blur.
Going into the Biblical heartland was simply amazing. Seeing it for our very own eyes. Touching it with our fingers. Is it safe to to there? Definately (though I would say with a guide as the GPS shuts down and you wouldn't want to get lost!)
We look forward to that day soon to come when the tribes will be again settled in their new cantons. Benjamin and Judah as bookends to the holy area for the Prince and the Sanctuary.
May we be granted grace and blessing in that day to serve our Heavenly Father there.