Traveling to Israel

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A Trip to the Holy Land is Worth Taking

In the fall of ’08, I traveled with a group of ministry students, which I was formerly a part of, to Israel, the holy land. Going on this trip was an amazing adventure through the Bible because when you see the places that you have read about, what you read seems to come alive in your mind. I like Israel, there are a lot of people that do not however. The land is agriculturally productive, despite the past four years of drought. It is a nation blessed by God and going there was one of the best trips that I have taken.

I am going to overview the trip and tell what really stood out to me while there in the holy land. Our plane landed in Tel Aviv, we found our hotel and ate dinner. Tel Aviv is only a short distance north of Jaffa, or what is now called Joppa, so we decided to walk there. Jaffa, is a very quaint village and being there would remind you of being in Tuscany because of the old stone and the layout of the village.

Upon waking up the following morning, we left Tel Aviv and headed for Caesarea (by the sea). Caesarea was King Herod’s city and much of this city is still visible in present day Israel. Complete with a harbor and and chariot racing track, this was a central place of life and business. As much as our group liked Caesarea, we could not stay there forever.

It was soon back on the bus for a ride to Megiddo, the valley of Armageddon. We ate lunch there, and this is where I tried my first falafel (chick peas rolled into balls, fried, and then stuffed in pita bread with vegetables). I had never had anything quite like that before, but since then I have been to a falafel joint here in Bloomington.

To experience this part of the holy land is simply amazing. Megiddo is where the armies of all the world will attempt to over through Jesus in the last days. This valley stretches on for miles, it is definitely large enough to hold them all of these armies.

On to the Sea of Galilee, where our group spent the next three days of the trip. During this time we visited Tiberias, Capernaum, Beth Saida, Tel Dan, and the Golan Heights. Tel Dan and Beth Saida, were probably my two favorites out of these. Beth Saida being a favorite because there is an ancient patch of walkway that Jesus himself has undoubtedly walked on and Tel Dan because it dates back to 4500 BC. When you see these places, you see so much more about the Bible, just by seeing the sites and geography.

Next we traveled to the Dead Sea, where the salt content is about 33% according to our guide, Zvika. People travel here to soak in the sea because the minerals and salts are extremely good for the body and all of these qualities made this trip very timely because I was very sick that day. I do not know what caused me to get sick, but it had definitely taken its toll on me. After soaking in a pool that pumps and warms water from the sea, and a good nights rest, I felt quite a bit better. As a word of advice to my readers, do not get sick on an international trip; running for the toilet is not the most desirable thing to have to do.

Off again, we had to see it all on our Israel trip! This time we traveled to the holy city, Jerusalem! What a city Jerusalem is! Anyone who has faith in God cannot help but to appreciate this place that God has written his name upon. I still being slightly sick, we went to the southern steps on that first day. I am a Christian and I did not often feel the same experience that others felt while there. Most Christians who travel to Jerusalem have thoughts and feelings about Jesus having died and resurrected there. I, however, felt a righteous anger at the fact that the temple mount has been desecrated by the pagans. While I was happy to be in Israel, and Jerusalem particularly, I was still quite saddened by this.

We walked the Via Dela Rosa on our last day there, this is the journey that Jesus took to Golgotha before being crucified on the cross. It is amazing to stand in that place and consider all that was done to him there. Well, I enjoyed my trip to Israel and despite what the media makes it out to be there, it is quite safe I assure you. I highly recommend this trip to anyone who enjoys the things of the Bible. Traveling to Israel is something that will not be soon forgotten.

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