Saturday, February 20, 2016

Home Again

Two years ago I checked off half the things on my bucket list in less than two weeks. Before you get too impressed, allow me to share my bucket list:
1. Visit Israel.
2. Through-hike the Appalachian Trail. 
Yeah, that's all. Two things. Do the math, and you quickly realize that I either visited Israel, or I through-hiked the Appalachian Trail in record time (walking approximately 180 miles a day).

Read the blog posts from my Israel trip to get a sense of what it's like to take a Tuttle Tour for the very first time. Dr. Bob kept telling me, "Don't worry, you'll do that the next time you're here -- you have to save something for the next time you come," and then he would launch into a story of the time he hitched a ride from Jerusalem to Cairo and back and got kissed by the border guards on BOTH sides of the border, or the time he literally talked the pants off the man guarding the gate to Capernaum and was then invited to live at his monastery for two months, or the time he sneaked into the Church of the Holy Sepulcher after hours and spent the whole night there with a group of nuns. (Oh, yes, these really are the stories he tells. You can't make this stuff up.)

The next time you come...

Well, the next time has come but, once again, I am trapped on a tour that does not include on its itinerary free time to wander along the paths that lead to the places I hold as "home" deep in my heart. No nun has invited me to join her convent; no border guards have adopted me as a long-lost sister. And yet, I have managed to carve out a few hours here and there to explore places I didn't get to see the first time.

Mt Arbel. No safety harness.
And it just keeps going DOWN.
I climbed down the cliffs of Mount Arbel overlooking Kinneret (the Sea of Galilee), following a goat trail that might have been used by the Zealots who inhabited the caves pocking the limestone and dolomite.

Qumran. The wadi is at the bottom of the photo to my right.

I stood at Qumran above the wadi where the men of the yahad dug the clay for their pottery, and read aloud the words of Isaiah's Servant Song.

"Your death is on
 your own head."

"Yehosef ben Qaifa"
is written twice on this ossuary.
I saw with my own eyes the ossuary of Yehosef Kaiaphas and a stone of the soreg that would have warned me, a Gentile, to stay out of the Temple's inner courts.

I walked around a 1-acre scale replica of Yerushalayim as it would have looked in the time of Yeshua and gazed upon the gates of "the Warren," though I couldn't spot Yochanah's rooftop garden.

I followed a lizard and discovered a narrow path along the side of Mount Precipice overlooking Nazareth, where I sat on a rock suspiciously like the ones at High Point. (I found no scriptures scratched into the earth there, but I wasn't looking very hard.)
High Point?

And now I have to stop, because it is time for another day on my 2016 Tuttle Tour. I will tell you all about it next time.