Our First Tour Day did not Disappoint

The first actual tour day is in the books! As planned, we opted for a bit of a late start, allowing jetlagged travelers an extra hour of sleep. Everyone is doing well and we are already seeing the group come together as “family.”

After a hearty breakfast, we made our way from our hotel in Ariel to Shiloh, where the presence of God dwelt with His people for 369 years. The wilderness tabernacle once made its home in Shiloh and archaeological evidence is once again proving God’s Word to be true! To be there and consider that God’s presence, which once inhabited a structure, now inhabits us is a wonder to behold.

Shiloh is also the place in which Hannah prayed for a son, promising to give him into the service of the Lord. Samuel was born and, indeed, was dedicated to the His service. Bible students remember Samuel as the prophet who anointed David king of Israel.

We then ascended Mt Gerizim, stopping at a lookout over ancient Shechem (modern-day Nablus). Nablus is known to be a hotbed for Palestinian terrorists and from our vantage point high above, we could see the reality the Palestinian Authority does not want people to know. The Palestinian “refugee camps” which keep the Arab world supporting the “rights” of the Palestinians, are not refugee camps at all, but fairly modern housing with UN presence right there. Joining us from the overlook was a lone Israeli soldier patroling the area from that vantage point. We cannot show his face on social media, but below you will see a picture of him on duty, with eyes wide open, ready to identify trouble.

Our next stop was lunch at the upstairs restaurant of a Samaritan family. It was a favorite on our last tour, so we repeated the stop this time, too! It was no disappointment! Fresh cucumbers, carrots and peppers on pita bread spread with hummus was our appetizer, followed by a dish of lentils and rice, potatoes and falafel! Who knew such healthy food could taste so good! Our hosts were lovely and we enjoyed every moment and every bite!

Then, down the street to the Samaritan Museum we went! There, we met “the good Samaritan,” second in line to be high priest of the Samaritans. They have their own belief system of the Torah (first 5 books of the Bible), and believe they are actually God’s chosen ones. The priest is quite a character and we all enjoyed the friendly banter back and forth between our Messianic Jewish guide and this good-natured Samaritan priest. Israeli culture is one of questioning and debate and, despite significant disagreements, those with differing viewpoints walk away as friends! It is refreshing!

Our hotel in Ariel is home to a life-size replica of the tabernacles. So our day ended with an evening presentation at the tabernacle, then a walk through the Biblical Garden.

Tomorrow is another exciting day. The stop at a factory to engage Jewish and Palestinian workers working side-by-side will actually happen tomorrow. Then we head to Netanya for a stop at One for Israel before visiting Caesarea by the Sea where we will get our first Bible teaching.

Here are some pictures of today’s adventure:

Our guide, Aly, teaching about the priestly breastplate, our group picking almonds (the trees are beautiful in bloom!), city of Nablus (Biblical Shechem)

IDF soldier standing guard above Nablus (a terrorist haven), our family-style, 10-plate lunch (wonderful!), life-size replica of the tabernacle

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