Israel Trip – 1
For the next eleven days, I’ll be blogging from Israel and Jordan. Rhonda Smith and I are leading a group of twenty-two on a pilgrimage to Galilee, Jerusalem, Bethlehem, the Dead Sea, Masada, Amman, and Petra. Please follow us on twitter as well.
After a safe arrival in Tel-Aviv, we met our guide, Yair “Jayah” Amichai, and bus driver, Yosi. We drove through Tel-Aviv to the ancient city of Jaffa, known in the Bible as Joppa. This is my third trip to Israel, but I’ve never stopped in this fabulous port city on the Mediterranean coast. Joppa has been home to four cultures– Egyptian in 1400 B.C., Jews and Romans in the first century A.D., and now Arabs and Israelis. Ramses 2, commonly assumed to be the Pharaoh at the time of the Exodus, reigned over Joppa. Jonah, the famous prophet who fled from God, boarded a ship here in Joppa and tried to escape to Tarshish. In Acts 10, Peter stayed in the home of Simon the Tanner and saw a vision of unclean animals that he could now eat.
We visited the Egyptian ruins that are being excavated here and saw a reconstructed Egyptian gate to the city of Joppa. After discussing the history of Tel-Aviv, we toured the St. Peter’s church commemorating the vision of the apostle. Most ancient Christian churches face East toward Jerusalem and the rising sun. This one uniquely faces West, expressing the gospel’s openness to Gentiles and the Westward expansion of the faith.
Tomorrow we travel to Caesarea, Mt. Carmel, Cana, and Tiberias. Thank you for the prayers.