One of the great things about traveling to the Bible lands is the ability that you have to see things in a totally different perspective. For years, I read the stories in the Bible and had developed mental images for the places in which they lived. When I made my first trip to Israel, I realized that many of my mental images were completely wrong. You begin to understand why cities were located in certain places and not located in other places. This morning, I was reading a blog post by my friend Steve Braman and I was reminded of a picture that I took last September. When the Israelites conquered the land of Canaan, God instructed them to drive out all of the current inhabitants of the land. Unfortunately, they did completely do what they were told and that caused them problems for hundreds of years. The tribe of Dan was originally given land along the Mediterranean Coast but due to their unwillingness to completely obey God's command, quickly developed problems with their neighbors. Consequently, the Danites soon decided to move. They travelled toward the north and finally conquered the the town of Laish (Judges 18) and renamed the city Dan.
Dan is located north of the Sea of Galilee at the foot of Mount Hermon. Walking around the tel allows you to learn about the size of the city and view the surrounding mountains. However, there are other ways of viewing the city. Back in September, I was able to see the city from a different angle. As we were driving up into the Golan Heights, I turned around and was able to capture the picture at the top of this post. (I was in a moving vehicle, so you have to excuse a bit of blurriness and the window reflection.) In the middle of the valley, you can clearly see the city of Dan. The brown cover that is visible is over the Bronze Age gate that is being excavated.
If we were given the ability to talk to Lot's wife, she would probably tell you that turning around is not a good idea. However, it can sometimes pay off. I am so glad that I turned around that day. Seeing the city from this perspective allows you to better understand the importance its location. I continue to be amazed at how much you can learn when you are over there.