Boker Tov (good morning in Hebrew)! On day 4, we are heading up to Jerusalem. In Israel, they seem to take great care and responsibility in getting our luggages up the bus. For example, we left our luggages outside our room and they picked it up. Then after they had collected the luggages and brought them down, we had to identify our luggages to the luggage handler and then we would have to watch them load it up. There was a couple who did that but somehow their luggages were still on the ground when we were ready to go on the bus after breakfast. They then got their luggage loaded up in the end before we left the place. I guess security is a pretty big issue over there.
View from the bus – This is the Jordan River. Can you spot the little people there lining up? They are waiting to get baptised!
Our first site of the day is Harod Spring or otherwise known as Ein Harod. This is where Gideon chose 300 warriors based on their drinking method and went on to defeat the Midianite army as seen in Judges 7:1 – 5.
Gideon’s Valiant Three Hundred
7 Then Jerubbaal (that is, Gideon) and all the people who were with him rose early and encamped beside the well of Harod, so that the camp of the Midianites was on the north side of them by the hill of Moreh in the valley.
2 And the Lord said to Gideon, “The people who are with you are too many for Me to give the Midianites into their hands, lest Israel claim glory for itself against Me, saying, ‘My own hand has saved me.’ 3 Now therefore, proclaim in the hearing of the people, saying, ‘Whoever is fearful and afraid, let him turn and depart at once from Mount Gilead.’” And twenty-two thousand of the people returned, and ten thousand remained.
4 But the Lord said to Gideon, “The people are still too many; bring them down to the water, and I will test them for you there. Then it will be, that of whom I say to you, ‘This one shall go with you,’ the same shall go with you; and of whomever I say to you, ‘This one shall not go with you,’ the same shall not go.” 5 So he brought the people down to the water. And theLord said to Gideon, “Everyone who laps from the water with his tongue, as a dog laps, you shall set apart by himself; likewise everyone who gets down on his knees to drink.”
Gideon Cave where the spring bubbles up.
What a beautiful day!
The water looks so clean…. and beckons us to take a sip…
Over here, Pastor asked all the men in our group to demonstrate how they would drink from the spring. We had to imagine that in the past the water levels were a lot higher and the level was up to the edge of the rocks. Some squatted down and used their hands to scoop whereas where some got down and laid on their bellies. Some really drank the water too and declared it was fresh!
We also did a short sharing over here:
The Lord is the one who chose. He will be the One who will guide and direct you. What disqualifies you? For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. (2 Tim 1:7) God is saying, do not allow fear to rob you of what He has for you*. Do not let fear have a hold over you*. Don’t forget who they (Gideon and his valiant three hundred men) were representing, so what are you focusing on? God is the One who is protecting and providing for me*.
Back on the posture of the men. He chose those with the posture that allowed them to stand up quickly in the event of an attack. Those who laid down on their bellies will take much longer time to get up as compared to the other posture. That first posture says “I’m ready. This battle is mine.”
How the men drank also reminds us of praying in the Spirit – it’s the lapping, the moving of the tongue. Not by might, not by power, but by His Spirit. :)
Remember this: God says, “You are the vessel I chose but I’m the one fighting.” God is a great God, He is the source, deliverer, restorer and everything is of Him.
We are getting closer to Jersusalem!
Israel’s landscape is quite interesting. You can see lush green mountains… and dry desert grounds too.
I have a habit of staying awake when I’m on the bus especially when I’m travelling because I don’t wanna miss a thing. Today, we saw a bunch of migratory birds flying across the sky! Being seated behind the tour guide is awesome, he heard my exclamation and he went on to inform the group to look out of their windows. Seldom in Singapore we witness such sights. He begun sharing on the birds, how they would have to fly in circles till they reach a certain height to start gliding and he whipped out his Bible to share with us this verse: “Even the stork in the heavens Knows her appointed times; And the turtledove, the swift, and the swallow Observe the time of their coming. But My people do not know the judgment of the Lord. (Jeremiah 8:7 NKJV)
Jesus is so relatable, He draws examples from the surroundings to make the people see…
We are on our way to the Jordan River, to this place called Beit Abara where Jesus was baptised by John the Baptist. This place is highly guarded as it is Jordan on the other side of the river.
It is common to see such fences with signages to inform people/ potential trespassers in various languages that there are mines before the fences. Our guide was beginning to warm up to us and he joked “It says danger, mines in Hebrew and English, and picnic area in Arabic.” He’s such a funny person!
Here am I, by the Jordan River! The place is a little flooded due to the rain yesterday. Remember we passed by the river earlier in the morning? This portion of the river is so…. murky. They do baptisms here too!
Tourists and soldiers on this side and tourists on the other side.
Cross the river, and you’ll reach Jordan! Note: DON’T try that, you may get shot (worse case scenario) or arrested by the soldiers on duty.
A picture with one of the soldiers on duty. He looks good eh? Hahaha!
Next site, Wadi Qelt! This is the Judean wilderness close to Jericho and runs through a steep canyon surrounded by limestone and chalk cliffs. Some biblical events which is likely to have occurred here would be the story of the Good Samaritan, David’s flight from Absalom and Jesus’ travels from Jericho to Jersusalem. I can totally imagine this being a treacherous path to walk on back in those days.
Here we see St George’s Monastery, ran by Greek Orthodox monks. St. George’s Monastery started in the fourth century with a few monks who sought the desert experiences of the prophets, and settled around a cave where they believed Elijah was fed by ravens (1 Kings 17:5-6). I wonder how did they carve/build the place, it’s an amazing feat!
Modes of transport – past and present. :P
So yes, after that, we headed up to Jersusalem! We stopped at Haas Promenade to get a panoramic view of Jerusalem city. Avi and our Pastor wanted to do a bit of sharing but it was really cold so we did that on the bus instead.
When we reached our hotel, we checked in at Hotel Yehuda and it’s so pretty. It’s like a boutique hotel!
We then had a minstering session and it was so good with people receiving the gift of tongues and getting healed. Our Daddy God is so amazing. :) That night, we also prayed for good weather for our days ahead (as it has been quite rainy for the past few days in Jerusalem) and I prayed that rain would fall in Singapore as we had not been experiencing rain for the longest time in history and vegetation was browning all over the island. We then broke away for dinner and this time we joined a few other couples and it was a good time of fellowship which we seldom get to do cuz we are seated in front :)
*Such a good reminder at this point in my life as I’m recounting my trip. Notes taken are to be read over and over again, to be constantly reminded of the truth, instead of being chucked in a notebook or phone.