This quote is from one of the teachers that is with us on our trip; he is not kidding around. Day one was packed full of sites to hike, history to learn and pictures to capture. It's hard to pick highlights from today because, to me, all of it was a highlight!
We traveled to five different sites, all mainly out of the Old Testament. The first location, the Biblical name for is Kiriath Jearim (See Samuel 6), gave us models for things we may see along our journey.
Favorite part at Kiriath Jearim was learning about the trees in this area and remembering how important the olive tree and wine is to this culture, even to this day.
The journey really picked up at our next location, Beth Shemesh (pronounced Bet Sha-mesh) which is located near the Valley of Sorek. This valley is massive and as well as important in biblical terms. A lot of what we learn is piecing together agriculture with text. So we learn about what it was like to live in the ridges of the valley verses the coastal plains.
My favorite part of Beth Shemesh was the large cistern we got to go down into. These are areas where water were kept for a town, much like a well.
Next was Azekah! This area we climbed up high to see the valley of Elah. This area is a location where it is close to the story of David and Goliath. There were tons of kids around the area as well who were also being taught the David and Goliath story for their schooling (What?? How cool is that?). Did you notice in the story of David fighting Goliath that he picks up 5 stones? One is for Goliath, the other were back up for if Goliath's brothers stepped in.
My favorite part of Azekah was watching an example of just how mighty a stone and sling are.
The next two sites kind of merged together, Bet Guvrin and Maresha. This area is mainly the area that King Herod did a lot of his ruling in. Though the land looks simple, the real history is bellow the surface. All of what we saw was underground (which is pretty crazy to me). The craziest part of this site was wandering up and down stairs through, what would have been, basements of old houses as well as some cisterns.
My favorite part of Bet Guvrin/Maresha was admiring all of the tool marks in the cisterns and basements. The stone is easy to chip at since it is chalk and limestone, very soft rock.
Now we rest and await another day that is cram packed with adventure, history and the love of our amazing God!