S: Huntington University Trip to Israel & Jordan in January 2012
FC: Israel 2010
1: Whether we were exploring ancient ruins, walking the Via Dolorosa, fishing in the Sea of Galilee, riding camels, praying at the temple mount, touching the rock of Golgotha, floating in the Dead Sea, or strolling hand in hand on the shores of the Mediterranean, our hearts overflowed in praise to the God who truly is able to do immeasurably more than all we could ask or imagine...to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations forever and ever, Amen! Eph. 3:20-21 | From day one to day fourteen our Israel adventure was the most enthralling, exciting, and exhausting experience ever! | Teddy & Sarah Fairchild | Jordan & Israel | January 3-17, 2010
2: We enjoyed beautiful hotel stays in Amman, Jerusalem, overlooking the Sea of Galilee and finally overlooking the Mediterranean. Since we had the same last name as the Huntington University Professor leading the trip, we were given royal treatment in room selection with incredible views each time! By the end of the trip other students would rush to see our room and complain that they had the wrong last name!
3: The group climbing out our windows to enjoy the sunset over Petra from the roof of one of our fabulous hotels!
4: Church at Pella: When 1st Century Christians fled Rome to avoid death they found refuge here.
5: Jordan | Canaanite Temple
6: Madaba City: The road leads to the entrance of the city and temple. | The "Herald" Rock: The post where one would announce who entered the city. This is a typical layout of 1st Century cities.
7: Jerash | Fir | Cen | tu | ry | st | Ci | ty
8: Jordan Archaeological Museum | Mesha Stele (840 BC) Also known as the Moabite Stone, the inscription memorialized King Mesha's victories over "Omri king of Israel" and his son, who had been oppressing Moab. It bears the earliest known reference to the sacred Hebrew name of God - YHWH - and is also notable as the most extensive inscription recovered that refers to ancient Israel. The Israelites also recorded this historical battle in 2 Kings 3. How amazing to find ancient historical documents of other civilizations that correspond to accounts in Scripture!
9: Ossuary Boxes (Below): The deceased was first laid out in a multi-chamber tomb and allowed to decompose. The bones were then collected in a stone box. | Left: An amphitheater in Amman, Jordan still in use today. I'm seated where ancient royalty would sit ! Left (Below): Rooftops are common hang-out places. King David walking on his rooftop was culturally common!
10: The Jordan River | Miles and miles of wilderness! | Christ's Baptism | John the Baptist's Wilderness | I love that the presence of Christ 2000 years ago transforms a place like the Jordan River, a simple muddy stream, into something sacred, something special, something millions of people travel hundreds of miles just to see, to touch, not because the River's water was so remarkable, but because Jesus was, and we thirst for the reality of Him...
11: What an incredible testament to the artistic brilliance and engineering skill of this ancient civilization! Elaborate water systems enabled survival in a city of sandstone where water is sucked up the instant it touches the surface. Miraculously enough, this land is where Moses struck the rock and water gushed out instead! | Joel demonstrates the purpose of these tombs. | 2 Mile Canyon Into Petra | After walking 11 miles in Petra, riding out was awesome!! | PETRA
12: Petra | Our crew in front of one of the seven wonders of the world at Petra! | The detail is incredible! Notice the footholds on the sides of the mountain- ancient scaffolding!
13: The High Place: God instructed His people to tear down all other high places of pagan sacrifice. Their disobedience remains today with the structure of this high place in Petra. Neverending stairs led us higher and higher to one of the highest peaks...now wonder they called them high places! | Left: A colorful cafe was built into a cave at the base of the summit with drinks and lounging pillows. If we weren't so sweaty and dusty we would have felt like Arabian queens! | Below: A grueling climb to the Monastery proved well worth it to visit this once sacred site and take in the gorgeous views! | The final ascent (left) to the top! | The Monastery
14: MASADA | Model of the City | The Real Thing | Dead Sea from the Walls | We rode a cable car up 1300 feet to ancient Masada where fanatical Jews-Sacarii-survived an extended siege by growing food in the open center (top right) and using a massive water cistern (bottom right). When the Romans overtook the mountaintop city they discovered nearly everyone inside had taken their own life rather than face captivity...
15: Qumran | Cave #4 which held several hundred of the Dead Sea Scrolls. The scrolls were not merely archaeological treasures but a testimony to the preservation of Scripture despite thousand year gaps between the original work and the copies of the Bible we read today! | Two sets of stairs allowed Jews to enter unclean and exit clean... Praise God that the blood of Christ washes away the guilty stains that this water couldn't! | Excavated mikvah (ritual bath)
16: Right: A close-up of the shoreline from our bus before arriving at the area we were able to go down and swim. Despite its rather ominous name, the Dead Sea is actually very beautiful. Bottom Left: A family of camels to greet us as we drove closer to the Sea! Below Right: Some of the guys brought along newspapers or books just for these photos to show how incredibly buoyant the water is. Your body easily floated on the surface and it actually took effort to get your legs to go under the water beneath you. Such a weird but wonderful experience! | -THE DEAD SEA-
17: Visiting the Ruins of Jericho | Always interesting to see the ancient remains located so close to modern towns!
18: Church of the Nativity | Right: A mosaic from the original floor. | Traveling down below the church into the traditional cave of Christ's birth. | The Shepherd's Hill | Luke 2:8 "And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night..." | Luke 2:7 "She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn."
19: The Upper Room | Ironically enough, the original "Upper Room" (marked with the large stones far right) is at present day ground level! In order to protect and preserve the sacred sites, churches were built on top of them so we were constantly going down underground to see the original site. How awesome to see the literal layers of history! | Left: Entering the courtyard of the Upper Room | Deuteronomy 6:4-9 "Hear O Israel the Lord our God, the Lord is One...these commands I give you today are to be upon your hearts...write them on your door frames of your houses and on your gates..." | Right: The Church over Jerome's cave where he hid and translated Scripture into Latin (The Vulgate).
20: Mount of Olives: This hill sits opposite the temple and is the most popular cemetery as Jews believe those buried here will be the first ones resurrected when the Messiah returns to this Mount. Notice the stones on the grave; in Jewish tradition stones have long been a sign of remembrance. For example, think of the crossing of the Jordan River and Joshua commanding stones be taken from the middle of the riverbed as a visual reminder... | The Garden of Gethsemane: Notice the difference between a young but fully grown olive tree (middle right) and one of the trees in the Garden that dates back more than 2,000 years ago (bottom right). These are the trees that head Christ's prayer, that witnessed His betrayal and arrest; it was surreal to stand among them...
21: Dome from the Mount of Olives | Temple Court & Dome of the Rock | Eastern Gate | "And the glory of the Lord entered the Temple by way of the gate which faces towards the East...and the Lord said to me, This is the place of My throne and the place of the soles of My feet, where I dwell in the midst of the children of Israel forever..." Ezekiel 43:4&7
22: Original Road to Temple Indented by Herod's Destruction in 70AD | The Teaching Steps where Rabbi's taught their disciples (below too). | The Wailing Wall
23: The Dome of the Rock sits on the holy ground of Muslims and Jews. | For such a sacred site the atmosphere seemed heavy with spiritual darkness
24: Climbing into the Kidron Valley between Jerusalem and the Mount of Olives where Israelite Kings were buried.
25: Under Caiaphas's house (the High Priest) where Christ was chained , the courtyard just outside of Peter's betrayal., and 1st Century Steps Jesus most likely walked on that night.
26: The Western Wall Underground, it is a narrow passage that reveals the original stone wall of the temple. Some sites still being processed can be seen below you through glass windows. | "But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea." Matthew 18:6 | A common millstone! Massive!
27: Agora | Beth Shean | The long path up for the awesome overhead view! | Traditional Tomb of Lazarus | It was a typical city of Jesus' time.
28: We took a day out of the intense schedule to do a bit of unrelated sight-seeing at an Israeli zoo! They had an awesome parrot show that Teddy and I stumbled across and it was so nice to give our minds a break from trying to take everything in! Complete with dinner at a gorgeous lakeside restaurant!
29: "You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden." Matthew 5:14 | In the above verse Christ likely motioned to this city to make his point. Susita would have been within eyesight and was uniquely built on a steep hill. | Shortly after reaching the top a storm came up out of nowhere off the Sea of Galilee. We fled down the mountain through fierce wind and rain with lightning literally striking the ground around us. Climbing into the bus completely drenched and marveling at the twisted metal spokes of my once useful umbrella, we understood the disciples fear at being caught in a similar storm on the Sea of Galilee. We'll never read those stories in the same way again!
32: Synagogue | The village life of Chorazin, a town Jesus once walked through Himself. It shows typical housing, the tools of daily life, and communal buildings as well. The people of this town were reprimanded in Scripture for their lack of response to the miracles Jesus did there.
33: Banyas Waterfalls: We took a quick stop on the road to hike down to where the waterfalls were hidden! It was fun to explore on our own a bit out in the middle of nowhere! | Below: The church in Tabgha marking the miraculous feeding of the five thousand. | Above & Right: This natural abyss was thought to be the doorway into the pits of hell. Sacrifices were thrown down as part of the worship of the god, Pan.
34: The Palace of King Agrippa: Several of us detoured from the Temple of Pan to hike over to this somewhat restricted area to explore on our own! We discovered underground tunnels with the ancient waterways still intact and had fun seeing where we popped up on the site.
35: Boat ride on the Sea of Galilee where we experienced first century style fishing. What an incredible opportunity to sail on the waters where Jesus walked!
36: The closest representation of a typical first century tomb. Their would be multiple places to lay loved ones back in the cave. This was the style of tomb Christ would have been buried in and sealed by a stone rolled into the grooves. | Walking through an ancient water tunnel--183 steps! | Exploring the archaeological dig known as Solomon's Stables. | Below: This boat was uncovered from the sea floor where layers of mud had preserved the wood for 2,000 years. This would have been the style of vessel Jesus knew well.
37: Right: The entrance to burial graves where dozens of tombs, some elaborately decorated, were placed in various cave rooms within. | Left: In Cana at a church display celebrating the first recorded miracle of Christ. He turned water into wine for a wedding in this town. | One of several valleys and a common battleground for the ancient Israelite armies. | Bottom Left: This was the view from our resting spot where we talked with HU's Campus Pastor about our future in the ministry and in pursuing seminary. It was a defining conversation for our future. To make a long story short, God brought Teddy to Winebrenner Seminary in Findlay, Ohio, and six months later we moved here after he accepted the Lead Pastor position at The ROCK Church. Within a few more months he was offered a chaplain position at the jail, put in charge of their re-entry program, teaching at the city mission, and pouring into a unique body of believer with hearts to love on the truly needy of our community.
38: The Mediterranean Sea! | Ancient aqueducts
39: The ancient ruins along the coast made for a gorgeous final day of our trip. Walking hand in hand along the beach with the waves rushing up around us in a steady rhythm and the sun sinking behind the horizon made for some pretty surreal moments. Our last few hours in this beautiful area of the world felt like a scene straight from the movies. God gifted us with memory upon memory during our trip; stories from the Bible came to life before our eyes as we walked where Christ walked and explored the world He knew so well. Thank you, Lord! | Remains of a palace and bath house | Teddy decided we need one of these to teach our future baby the biblical languages from an early age!