Note: our Director of Christian Education, Michael Farmer, is on a trip to Israel through his studies at the Methodist Theological School in Ohio. While there, he is sending periodic updates about what he's been doing.
We made it to Jericho! It has been another long day but good day. We saw more ruins which were really neat. It's really setting in how the culture at Jesus time was really blended. There were Roman and pegan symbols in synagogues, Roman legions had Jewish symbols and Jewish synogoues had niches like pegan temples. Now it's hard to say why this happened but it could be that it was just the fashion of the time. What's for sure is that there was a blending and mixing as people interacted with each other.
We crossed into the West Bank to get into Jericho. It really made what we see in the news at home come to life. The buildings aren't in very good shape, there's barbed wire fence with scanners to keep the Palestinian people in and there are deserted building projects all over. The tour guide is a Palestinian Christain and it's sad to hear the story of his people and family. We are safe but the persecution the Palestinian people live with is just hard to imagine in this century.
On the way into Jericho we saw camels, the mountain wilderness where Jesus was tempted, some caves where desert father's lived and my favorite.....the Zacheious tree! Of course we had to sing the song. Our hotel had 2 pools and was very nicely decorated. We got a restful sleep and are headed to Masada today and then we get to float on the dead sea!