Day 1-Yad Hashmonah, Beth Shemesh, Elah Valley, Tel Maresha

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What a great first day! After arriving at Yad Hashmonah we grabbed a few hours of sleep and jumped right into the tour. On our first day we learned about Israel geography and agriculture. We had the chance to see an ancient olive oil press, were reminded of old Jewish threshing and harvesting practices, and learned about the significance of the Mikvah in Jewish culture. Did you know that “Gethsemane” in Hebrew means “olive press?” When Jesus was in the garden of Gethsemane in prayer on the night before he died he was in an olive tree grove. Olive trees and oil speak so much to Jewish and now Christian faith. The oil is a significant metaphor to the work of the holy spirit in our lives. And just like the olives being pressed, trials are used to bring out purity and holiness in us.

What a great day. We learned about GideonĀ and Ruth and the the role that the winepress played in their stories. We saw the field where Sampson defeated his enemies by burning their fields with fire tied to fox tails (See Judges 15-17!). And we went to the area where David and Goliath likely had their famous dual. We went inside of a cistern. Jeremiah compared his people to “broken cisterns” that could hold no water because they had forsaken the Lord; as opposed to the “living water” of fresh springs that God want to bring into your life if you will follow him faithfully. (Jeremiah 2)

The cistern that we went inside of held roughly 54000 gallons of water and when it was uncovered in an archeological dig, they found 29 bodies inside!

The last photo is a picture of us inside the Calumbarium. This was the place where they kept pigeons for temple sacrifice.

In the pictures you can see us at Yad Hashmonah with the Olive press, Gil Young standing where David and Goliath might have fought, Mike and Becky in front of a tower like you would find in an ancient vineyard (see Isaiah 5), and pics of the inside of both the cistern and the Calumbarium.