Today we leave Galilee and journey south down the spectacular Syrian African Rift Valley to the Dead Sea in the arid Judean wilderness. We studied the cultural tensions that existed at the time of Jesus, both between Greco-Roman culture and Jewish culture (and later the early church), and also between the Jewish religious establishment of the day and various spiritual reformers. At the Jordan River, we discussed the ministry of John the Baptist and his relationship with Jesus. Our next stop was the Biblical city of Beit Shean to examine the visually impressive excavations of its Roman-Byzantine period when it was one the ten Hellenistic cities of the Decapolis. From here we continued down the Jordan Valley to the arid Judean Wilderness, passing by the region of Jericho – the oldest and lowest city on earth.

Oasis of Jericho in the distance

The Jericho to Jerusalem road is behind us

Jericho (a third millennium BC princely tomb) the home of Zaccheus

Judith reading the story of Ahab and Jezebel while we stand (possibly) in Naboth’s vineyard

Isabel at the Jordan

Sea of Galilee

Nancy, Pamela, Isabel, Colin and Steve