Jericho – To Walk Where Jesus Walked part 4

Jericho – To Walk Where Jesus Walked part 4

DSC_0469Jericho, “the City of Palms”, is and was an oasis in a very dry and mountainous land due to an ancient stream running through it.  After Jerusalem, it is the most excavated site in Israel and archaeologists have marked it as “the oldest city in the world” due to layers of artifacts dating to the Neolithic age. Today it lies within the Palestinian territory of the West Bank near the Jordan River.

During Jesus’ lifetime the Jericho road, which led to Jerusalem, was well traveled but quite dangerous. Caravans full of cargo, military personnel and pilgrims heading to Jerusalem would all use this roadway. The trip from Jerusalem to Jericho was approximately 18 miles and would descend more than a half mile in elevation.  Jericho is the lowest city in the world at 850 ft below sea level. Because of the isolated terrain, people were a target for bandits who had plenty of places to hide.

Herod had built his winter palace there and the city catered to the rich and powerful. It JerichoSycamorewas also a designated home for the priests and Levites on roster to serve at the Temple. A perfect place for a tax collector named Zacchaeus.  The blind and lame would have been sitting along the road begging for alms.

The Good Samaritan in Luke 10:30-37  

30 Jesus replied with a story: “A Jewish man was traveling on a trip from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he was attacked by bandits. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him up, and left him half dead beside the road.31 “By chance a priest came along. But when he saw the man lying there, he crossed to the other side of the road and passed him by.32 A Temple assistant walked over and looked at him lying there, but he also passed by on the Jericho roadother side.33 “Then a despised Samaritan came along, and when he saw the man, he felt compassion for him.34 Going over to him, the Samaritan soothed his wounds with olive oil and wine and bandaged them. Then he put the man on his own donkey and took him to an inn, where he took care of him.35 The next day he handed the innkeeper two silver coins, telling him, ‘Take care of this man. If his bill runs higher than this, I’ll pay you the next time I’m here.’36 “Now which of these three would you say was a neighbor to the man who was attacked by bandits?” Jesus asked.37 The man replied, “The one who showed him mercy.” Then Jesus said, “Yes, now go and do the same.”

Jesus’ audience would have circled in to listen carefully. They understood the characters, dangers and the severe terrain. Neither a priest nor a Levite would want to ceremonially defile himself. It would have caused a great inconvenience of time and money. So instead they see the need but pass by on the other side. Jesus goes on to describe a despised Samaritan, who stops, sees and goes above and beyond to show deep love and mercy towards another human in great need.

This parable applies throughout the centuries. We should see needs and stop to help or get involved if we can. NO, we can’t help everyone. The needs of today are so far and wide – in our neighborhood and across the globe. But we ALL can make a difference in ONE person’s life. Ask God to open your eyes, don’t just pass by. Be like the Samaritan who didn’t see ethnic, social or economical differences but instead a neighbor in need.

 

Chorus from Amy Grant’s  My Father’s Eyes

She’s got her father’s eyes,
Her father’s eyes;
Eyes that find the good in things,
When good is not around;
Eyes that find the source of help,
When help just can’t be found;
Eyes full of compassion,
Seeing every pain;
Knowing what you’re going through
And feeling it the same.
Just like my father’s eyes,

 

References used include:   BiblePlaces.com / Faith ND/  Bible Odessey / Wikepedia

To Walk Where Jesus Walked-Bethsaida

To Walk Where Jesus Walked-Bethsaida

For me as Christian, visiting the Holy Land was a “bucket list” wish – to walk where Jesus walked. I wanted to see the places I had heard about in Sunday school as a child and read about over many years. Somehow the reality of the topography, richness of the culture and land had been lost on me all these years. Over this summer I will be sharing a six-part series on several of the places that came alive, “off the page” so to speak, during my recent trip.

Bethsaida is part of what is called the “Evangelical Triangle” with Capernaum and Chorazin. Jesus warned the cities of their unrepentant hearts because He did most of His miracles in this area north of the Sea of Galilee. (see Matt.11:20-24)  It was a fishing village and home to the apostles Philip, Andrew and Peter.

bethsaida_map

Jesus Feeds the Five Thousand

10 On their return the apostles told him all that they had done. And he took them and withdrew apart to a town called Bethsaida. 11 When the crowds learned it, they followed him, and he welcomed them and spoke to them of the kingdom of God and cured those who had need of healing. 12 Now the day began to wear away, and the twelve came and said to him, “Send the crowd away to go into the surrounding villages and countryside to find lodging and get provisions, for we are here in a desolate place.”Plain-of-Bethsaida-13 But he said to them, “You give them something to eat.” They said, “We have no more than five loaves and two fish—unless we are to go and buy food for all these people.” 14 For there were about five thousand men. And he said to his disciples, “Have them sit down in groups of about fifty each.” 15 And they did so, and had them all sit down. 16 And taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven and said a blessing over them. Then he broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples to set before the crowd. 17 And they all ate and were satisfied. And what was left over was picked up, twelve baskets of broken pieces.           Luke 9:10-17 (ESV)

The Sea of Galilee lies in the depression of the Jordan Valley – approximately 686 feet below sea level. This explains a lot of the terminology of “going up” and “going down”. Many times Jesus would have stood down the mountainside preaching upwards, as the landscape made a natural amphitheater.

Jesus Heals a Blind Man at Bethsaida

22 And they came to Bethsaida. And some people brought to him a blind man and begged him to touch him. 23 And he took the blind man by the hand and led him out of the village, and when he had spit on his eyes and laid his hands on him, he asked him, “Do you see anything?” 24 And he looked up and said, “I see men, but they look like trees, walking.” 25 Then Jesus laid his hands on his eyes again; and he opened his eyes, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly.    Mark 8:22-25 (ESV)

BethSaida3sroadStanding on actual stones that Jesus would have stepped on whisked me back in time. The road was not wide between houses and other buildings. If people laid their loved ones in the road, Jesus could not pass by without stepping on them! Instead, He lovingly bent down and healed each one.

The people of the village of Bethsaida had witnessed many miracles. They were fed from a boy’s tiny lunch. They witnessed the healing of a blind man and many others yet their hearts were cold. They wanted full stomachs and to listen to stories and watch the show – reaping all the benefits yet not accepting The Giver.

How about you my reader? What blessings has God given you that you take for granted? Have you witnessed the healing of people you prayed for and yet you have lost the awesomeness of God? Are we truly grateful for our daily bread and all of the creature comforts we enjoy?  Stop whatever you are doing and do so today.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Trip to the Holy Land

Trip to the Holy Land

Dear Readers,     Yes a post is missing!  On May 24th My husband and I were just returning from a trip of a lifetime …To Israel.   In seven days we saw and learned so much it was like trying to drink from a fire hose.   1500++ photos to sort through and copious notes to compare.   My biblical understanding and geographical perspective has grown enormously.  Teams of archaeologists continue to dig through multiple layers of civilizations all over the country. If only we could build roads to last like the Roman Empire!!!

The country of Israel could fit inside of New Jersey and the landscape is very diverse. Lush areas where the water springs flow and mountainous dessert wasteland . Acres upon acres of plantations were growing dates, olives, lemons, bananas, mangoes etc…. We saw Shepherds herding sheep, goats and camels.  (Not far from the highway) Visiting the headwaters of the Sea of Galilee ,we saw crystal clear water pouring out of Springs. The “Sea” itself is really a lake 13 miles long by 8 miles wide. Our perspective of the actual land size and heights has changed. Above is a picture of us at Qumran where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found.

We also saw areas of wealth and poverty; housing slums in the big city and tin shacks by the wayside.  Diverse religious sects live near each other yet apart. It was Ramadan and we heard the Muslim call to prayer while staying in Jerusalem.

This is only a very small preview.  I will definitely be sharing more of what I learned over the next year! Actually seeing the places where ancient civilizations lived,worked and battled is and will be so enriching to my Bible study. To walk where Jesus walked was just amazing and there were times of great soul searching.

Please continue to follow my blog and share with your friends.

 

Roman Cardo