Israel: learning Biblical geography firsthand

The Old City of Jerusalem This morning we all gathered, anxiously awaiting free travel, to take our final exam on Geography and Physical Settings of the Bible and to finish our lovely time that we have had over the past two weeks at Jerusalem University College. Once we finished the exam, we all celebrated and received certificates of completion of a wonderful program. (We hope they don’t get revoked once our exams are graded.) The past two weeks have been much fun and very busy for our group. We have traveled to almost all corners of Israel and learned about the Bible, geography and stories from history and modern time.

Some of the highlights were exploring the Old City of Jerusalem andPlaying in the waterfall at En Gedi meandering our way through an underground pitch-black aqueduct that still had water in it, swimming in the Mediterranean Sea while we visited Ashquelon, playing in water falls while being watched by ibexes and rock badgers, and then crossing the street to float in the Dead Sea and to choke on some pretty salty water, and a four-day trip up to the Galilee. We stayed in Ein Gev while in the Galilee where we had our own private cabins right on the water’s edge. While we were in the Galilee, we went to Dan, where one of the country’s largest springs is, saw a massive water fall, found a temple that used to house dancing goats, and rode a boat across the Sea of Galilee.

Nate and Joseph in trough at Tel Gezer Although we are all very tired after these past two weeks and a lot fuller of knowledge, we are all really glad and feel fortunate for the experiences that we have been able to undertake. It has helped us all to go to the places where Biblical stories happened and to see the context for which they were written. It has let us gather a much deeper understanding of this land and the people who have been living here for thousands of years and what hardships and celebrations that they have as we have felt them too. This coming week, we split paths and go on free travel. We are going all over, including to Egypt, sailing on the Mediterranean Sea and spending time exploring Jerusalem further.

-Nate Bailey