Boker tov! Today is day two of our Galilee field study, and I think that this may be one of my favorite geographical regions of the country. We began our day with at a lookout called Peace Vista where we could get a great overview of the Sea of Galilee and surrounding country. How beautiful! It is so amazing to be able to look across the geography and be able to match up the maps we have studied with the actual land below us – the concrete geography truly brings the Bible to life.
Visiting the site of Katzrin also shed light on what daily life was like in ancient Israel…or rather demonstrated the lack of light, because Katzrin was a site with modern reconstructions of the houses common in the Talmudic period. Brian brought up the story Jesus tells about the woman who lost a coin in her house and struggled to find it, explaining that ancient houses did not exactly have the best overhead lighting. Ancient houses were quite dark, with minimal light coming from small windows and only a couple of candles. Brian explained that the darkness of an ancient house’s interior, together with the packed dirt floor, would have made it difficult to find anything. Just this simple information brings new clarity to the text and helps me get an idea of what may have been the reaction of Jesus’ audience to his teachings.
We visited a few other sites after that, but my favorite was one of our last stop of the day – the ruins of the city of Dan. We walked around the site, seeing the beautiful stream that originates from the Dan spring. While we were there, Brian told us the story of Israel’s King Jeroboam’s creation of golden calves and his placement of one at Dan and one at Bethel. I thought that this was really interesting because after all of the traveling we have done across Israel, I could connect the text to the places we had been.
By the end of the day, we returned to our accommodations on the shores of the Lake of Galilee, where I got to enjoy swimming and watching the sun set over the lake. What a wonderful ending to a great day!