In my home office closet, just off the room where I do the accounting for Love For His People ministry, I have many historical items stored away. Some are decades old. But then, many rooms that I am allowed to occupy (thanks my good wife!) contain many items, in boxes, on the once-bare walls, or carefully filled bookshelves. All are very full of interesting collectables! Some have even called these rooms museums. And so, they are.
Among the many Israeli and Judaica treasures in the closet, of which most will be given away as gifts, was an 8” x 10” photo print of Banias Springs. I never knew where that was in Israel, and really didn’t have much interest in it. But then we came to the Banias Nature Reserve, also the location in Jesus’ time where He told Peter, “I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.” Matthew 16:18-19, NASU
While I was changing batteries in my Canon camera and getting beautiful photos of the clear-flowing creek, the others went on a search of the other parts of the grounds and came back saying they wanted to hike to the Banias Springs waterfall. We could walk the few miles to it, or drive. Then finding out it would be a good hike to the waterfalls once we got there, we drove.
This was about to begin the 51 total miles we would all end up hiking, walking, and climbing the many steps during the next 7 days. Looking back, it didn’t seem that many, but thanks to the smartphones, which have everything, two of us confirmed the count. And we had only just begun.
The trail down the side of the hill, with the waterfalls as our destination, zig zagged back and forth as we walked on the small stone. Signs kept us on the right track. Others we passed coming and going gave us another notice that this was a very visited site.
I got very excited when I started hearing rushing water. When we came upon a wooden footbridge, we stopped in amazement. Flowing rapidly down from Mount Hermon to the north, carrying fresh water from its region, the site was a true joy, seeing this refreshing blessing. The land that had once been very barren in most of Israel was being renewed, rejuvenated, and reclaimed in the purposes and plans of the Lord.
In the natural, we could also see what was happening in the spiritual.
“In that day I will cause the horn of the house of Israel to spring forth, and I will open your mouth to speak in their midst. Then they shall know that I am the Lord.'” Ezekiel 29:21, NKJV
Lathan and Greg got to the waterfalls first, as again, in my desire to capture everything digital, to share with many, I had been slowed up. But I too gasped when I beheld the abundance of water flowing over the rocks above, filling a pool beneath. Not even the photos I took could describe the incredible sight. One can only imagine until you see it for yourself.
After we all walked back to the SUV, I stopped and purchased a jar of honey from a local, always wanting to support the people in as many ways as I can. Only to discover when I got home after the trip that we still had jars from my last trip. Want some?!
We tried making it to Nimrod’s Fortress just a few miles away, but we didn’t in time, being it had closed early that day. Shabbat was beginning shortly, starting at sundown. Continuing on though we followed the blacktop to the end of the road, right to the ski lift on Mount Hermon. Closed for the season, we still got out to say later, “We had been to the top!”
Trying to keep the brakes cool, my speed going back down was controlled. A wise decision, for then we saw the cattle penned up on the right side, readying themselves for the final call. Of course, photo op! By this time the guys were starting to get used to the frequent stops along the way. Little did they know that many of them would end up in this book, with several capturing their ahava adventure.
The hour-long drive back to Tiberias was completed after sundown, so we missed the Shabbat dinner and family time. But we did enjoy a good meal before landing.
In the morning we wanted to get an early start to head south, with Masada, Qumran, Ein Gedi, and the baptismal site of Yeshua on our list of those things we all wanted to accomplish.
But waking up to a flat tire, on Shabbat, in the middle of almost nowhere, would change that plan. Always trusting and looking up had become a needed way of life. And so it would prove to be true here also.