This morning, we headed south to The Negev region of Israel into the heart of the Philistine area. We drove through Bet Shemesh where the Ark of the Covenant was returned by the Philistines. They had captured it but it caused them plagues so they sent it on a cart pulled by two cows. When the cows brought it to Bet Shemesh, 70 people died because they looked into the ark.
We’ve seen so many places that bring Sunday School stories to life. Probably the most famous one is David and Goliath where the battle was fought in the Valley of Elah.
We saw where David chose the stone that killed Goliath. We read the story as a play, with different “actors” reading their part. It was surprising how small the hills were where the Philistines and Saul’s armies stood facing against each other.
As we traveled to Arad, we saw fields of wheat which reminded us of the story of Ruth and Boaz. The guide reminded us that we were on a route that Mary and Joseph would have taken Jesus through on their way to Egypt from Bethlehem. Arad was the first walled city the 10 spies would have seen while scouting out the land for Moses.
In modern-day Arad, we visited a very moving memorial to the Holocaust juxtaposing the crucifixion of Christ with the suffering of the Jews at the hands of the Nazis. It is called the Fountain of Tears. The artist is creating another one just outside of Auschwitz. We were all impacted by this, especially as it is the eve of Holocaust Remembrance Day.
Beersheba was our last stop for the day. It is mentioned numerous times in the Bible. Both Abraham and Isaac dug wells. This is where Abraham and Abimelech made a peace covenant over the well. Jacob had his dream about a stairway to heaven after leaving Beersheba. Also, this is where the prophet Elijah took refuge when Jezebel wanted him killed.
It was another busy day of sight-seeing and learning. We will all have lots to share when we get home.
Randy and Linda Myers