14 January 2012

Beit She'an and Gideon's Spring

Today, we regrettably had to leave the region of Galilee (the region I loved so much!), but we were making our way to Jerusalem - the city we were all most looking forward to, the city with the most significance. I was excited to be heading to Jerusalem, but still in disbelief that I was in Israel - let alone heading to the city that I've only heard about since I was, like 4 years old! 

Our first stop of the day was at a place called Beit She'an, which had a great example of a Roman amphitheater. Now, for those interested - here's a little background on Beit She'an. The Israelites failed to conquer this city in Joshua's time and it was under Philistine control in Saul's era. When Saul and his sons were slain in battle, they were hung on the city walls to humiliate the Israelites. Beit She'an was then allotted to the tribe of Manasseh, but fearing the iron chariots of the Canaanite inhabitants, the Israelites failed to drive them out of Beit She'an. Beit She'an became one of the cities in the Roman province of Decapolis, which was visited by Jesus and continued to be prosperous in the Roman and Byzantine periods until it was destroyed in 749 AD by an earthquake.

Like our day in Tel Dan,  it absolutely poured in Beit She'an. We attempted some singing and such, but eventually most of us had to seek refuge in the nearby arches behind the amphitheater. Needless to say, we didn't get much of a chance to walk around Beit She'an's ruins - but I was fine just admiring the view from our little shelter!

Ruins at Beit She'an

After Beit She'an, we made our way to Gideon's Spring. This place is famous as the location where Gideon tested his men - reducing his army from 10,000 to 300. Those soldiers who drank from the spring like dogs (lapping up the water) were excused, while those who cupped the water to their mouths were kept as this showed they were alert and watching for the enemy.

Gideon's spring

                              It was a bit muddy....

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