From Ash Wednesday to Resurrection Sunday

March 19-22, 2008

I have been having trouble getting computer time at the hotels we are staying in. There are too few computers in the business centers and because it is Holy Week there are tens of thousands of Pilgrims in the country and they all want access to the computers; even WiFi isn’t reliable. But it looks like I got a strong signal tonight so I better get at it.

We have travelled from Caesarea Maritima on the coast, north to Mt. Carmel (Elijah’s stomping grounds), eastward to Meggido (possible stage for yet another great battle), northward again to Nazareth (home town of Jesus, with a population of approximately 150-200 people in his day), and eastward again to the Sea of Galilee (really a fresh water Lake 15 x 9 miles).

The Sea of Galilee is struggling to survive as a serene and commercially viable source for fish and drinking water. This is so evident when you have been able to visit the Galilee over the past several years. I was shocked. The entire region is struggling with what will become a serious crisis if measures are not taken to correct it.

The waters are not as clear, fresh  & colorful as before. Pollution and algae are to blame. The natural flow has been interrupted , the Jordan has virtually been halted; little water flows southward. The government allows enough to keep water flowing into an area where there are Christian Baptismal service going on regularly. This may bring in the shekels but its  bad move for the vitality of the Jordan.

We traveled north from Galilee into the Upper Galilee and got a first hand look at the fertile lands created after the draining of Lake Hulah in the 1950’s. Between the Jezreel Valley and this region we have a large section of the “bread -basket of Israel. This is a war scarred region too. In the recent war with Lebanon small communities in the north (Metulah and Kiryat Shmona) were repeatedly shelled. The greatest damage was from Forrest fires caused by the rocket salvos.

We travelled up snow capped Mt. Hermon , down the Golan Heights and back to the north end of the Sea of Galilee (Capernaum, Tabgha, Bethsaida, and Magdala) where Jesus conducted nearly 70% of his public ministry.

This is the time of climatic transition, from the wet to dry seasons. The temperatures have been very warm, actually hot (96) at Masada. Speaking of climate and wet/dry seasons I must say I am completely amazed at just how green everything is during the rainy season. Those regions in the Jordan rift valley and the Wilderness of Judah which are usually bleak, brown and lifeless to the eye are now green and look fertile. What a difference water makes!

New digs at Jericho by the Palestinian Archaeology Authority were rather interesting. They have exposed a massive “outer wall” defense structure in an area that no one thought possible. It is certainly adding a new wrinkle to the great story of Jericho.

Going up to Jerusalem has for many of the team members a fresh meaning. We travel from the lowest point on earth (approximately -1400 feet below sea level) to an elevation of +2500 feet in the City of God. The change in atmospheric pressure from the Dead Sea to Jerusalem effected a few.

We have been soaking in as many biblical passages as we can, often reading aloud significant segments to highlight biblical background.

Now we await for Easter! What an honor to be in Jerusalem at this time. We will join with tens of thousands tomorrow to celebrate the sine qua non of the Christian faith- The Resurrection- without that historical event we are done for! Thank God for the power of the Resurrection.

Published in: on March 22, 2008 at 7:18 am  Comments (4)  


  1. How exciting. I loved reading it all. Very nice and to be in Isreal.

  2. Thanks so much for writing this blog. I enjoy hearing about the adventure and imagining how wonderful it would be to tag along. I dream of going there myself within the next year or two after I finish the photography classes I’m taking to prepare. I look forward to hearing about all that you dig up while you’re there.

  3. Without the fresh water that I find in the NT, life would be as dry as the desert. Thank God for the word of God.

  4. Dr Bez, what are the latest findings from the Mt Zion area? Thx, Hal

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