Today was an interesting day. We went up toward the border countries of Syria and Lebanon. On the way up we stoppped at a beautiful waterfall. It was a steep and muddy (and very stinky) walk to get to the waterfall. But....boy, was it worth it. Beautiful. It really was spectacular and reminded me that such beauty has to come from God. We got all wet and were teasing each other that we had been baptized once again. I am posting a picture of me and my roommate Pastor Tiffany in front of the waterfall. I am also including a picture of the three Presbyterian Pastors in our group (myself, Pastor Joy and Pastor Alfredo)
Next, we boarded the bus again and went up to the Golan Heights. The Golan Heights are an area that was not part of Israel just a little while ago. It is called an "occupied territory" because Israel occupies it right now, but it is not officially considered Israel. There were lots of Israeli army bases and soldiers in the area. There were also signs everywhere that warned you not to go off the road because there were mines planted in the ground. Mines are explosives that can hurt or even kill you if you step on them.
To see the soldiers and fences and the signs was disturbing to me. It reminded me that we are traveling in a place that people have fought over for many, many years....way back before Jesus' time and all the way until today. This little piece of land (about the size of New Jersey) is a pathway betweeen Africa to the south and China and India to the north. It has always been thought of as valuable, so countries fight over it. Add to that the fact that the Jewish people, Christians and Muslims all have their religious roots here. Why do we have to fight? Isn't there a way to share this special place.
So.....beyond all that we saw some marvelous things today. We saw a castle that is named after a mythological warrior named Nimrod, we saw where the Greek temples of Pan and Zeus were that were built in the first century. I put a picture of what it used to look like (now it just looks like the side of a mountain sort of dug out. I saw a pregnant donkey beside the road. I saw my first sheep in Israel. And we ate at the town of Magdala where Mary Magdalene was from.
I came back from all that and ran 4 miles at a little gym, so I am pooped out.
And now...it is dinnertime.