This morning we all packed up our suitcases and checked out of the hotel in Jerusalem that has been our base for the last week. We got on the coach to head north.
But first we got a taste of the wilderness, by going to a viewing point halfway between Jerusalem and Jericho. As we looked on the hilly desert we imagined the lonely traveller being attacked by thieves and left to die, but then rescued by the good Samaritan. We also thought about Jesus heading out into this very desert for 40 days to be tempted by the devil, but refusing to give in.
Then we visited Jericho itself, the oldest city in the world. Joshua and the nation of Israel marched around Jericho blowing trumpets, and the walls came crashing down. Some scholars have argued that the story of Joshua couldn't possibly have been true because the city didn't exist in those days, but now excavations in the centre of the modern city have found evidence of civilisation dating back for many millenia. The picture here is of the corner of a fortress dating back to 8000BC. It claims to be the oldest man-made structure in the world,
We then got on the coach and drove north, beside the route of the Jordan River, towards Galilee. On the way we stopped off at an oasis for a swim, and found that it was full of fish that liked to nibble at our feet when we were in the water. Its supposed to be very therapeutic, but is a bit alarming at first when you're not expecting it.
And then it was back into the coach to head to our new hotel by the shore of Galilee. Its a lovely, peaceful place - very different from Jerusalem. But will be fascinating to see over the next few days as we visited the places where Jesus spent most of His ministry.