Newark to Tel Aviv to Bethlehem

Our flight was shorter than expected – about 10 hours. Unfortunately I couldn’t sleep a wink, so I ended up watching 4 movies. It’s interesting that I’ve been awake for about 30 hours and I’m not really tired right now. I was about 5 hours ago, but seem to have gotten a second wind.

We hit the ground running. Directly from the airport our driver (Abu Ali – John has used him for 10 years – we are eating at his house tomorrow!) took us to our first stop, Zo’rah – the place were Sampson was from. Talked a little about Judges, how being out of community and relying on your own strength is bad for you and how God can redeem and use folks who mess up a whole lot. Also talked some general geography talk.

Then we hiked to a place that overlooked the valley of Elah – where David fought Goliath. We could see where it is thought the Israelites were on one hill and the Philistines on an opposite one with the valley in between. Then we went down into the valley of Elah in the river bed (dry in the summer) where David would have picked up his stones – pretty cool!

Elah Valley
Valley of Elah

Wadi - David's stones
Wadi – David’s stones

Then it was on to Adulam where there are a number of caves in the ground. There is one where it is thought David and his mighty men hid – it was quite cool (literally and figuratively) to crawl around in some of the other caves as well.

David's Cave
David’s Cave

Then a nice buffet at our hotel where the owners have known John for 10 years. After that, we just wandered around downtown Bethlehem for about an hour or so. I answered a trivia question correctly in the van, so John gave me 20 shekels for ice cream. Tasty.

Church of the Nativity
Church of the Nativity

Tomorrow – the Dead Sea among other things.