This morning's sunrise was partly cloudy. Therefore, the initial sunrise over the Sea of Galilee wasn't impressive, but a few minutes later, the suns rays shined through the clouds to remind us that "The heavens declare the glory of God". After a great breakfast, we headed north of the Sea to the Hula Valley. Our first stop was at the ancient city of Hazor. The location of this city is vitally important as it controls all traffic on the Via Maris in ancient times.
From there, we drove to the northern edge of the country of Israel and viewed the site of Abel-Beth Maacah. Although it is impossible to take an entire tour group to the site, this is a favorite of mine because of how the city is situated on a hill with a commanding view of the surrounding area. Although we didn't stay long, our visit to the city went much better than Sheba's (2 Samuel 20).
We then drove a little farther north to the Israeli city of Metula to have a view over into the country of Lebanon.
Tel Dan was our next stop. After walking through the nature preserve, we arrived at the High Place built by King Jeroboam, first king of the northern kingdom of Israel. This single bad decision by King Jeroboam basically sealed the fate for his country. The people followed him and they never recovered. We walked through the Solomonic gate and finally viewed the ancient Canaanite gate.
Leaving Dan, we traveled to Banias (ancient Caesarea Philippi). The cultic worship that was evident during the time of Christ makes Peter's answer to Jesus' question so much more meaningful ("Jesus is the Christ, the son of the living God").
After driving through the Golan Heights (with a stop of a view toward Syria), we arrived at the Jordan River, just north of the Sea of Galilee. Due to the shortage of rain during the most recent rainy season, the flow was probably lower than I have ever seen it. But, it is always a thrill to be able to see such a famous river.
We arrived back at the hotel tired, hungry and pleased with the day. Heading to bed to get a good night's rest before tomorrow.
From Israel, Shabbat Shalom.