Feb 10, 2023 | Gilbert's Journal



Day 3 of our Bible Study Tour took us on a captivating journey as we drove along the Sea of Galilee, the River Jordan and the West Bank (west of the Jordan river), finally arriving in Samaria. With every view came a deeper appreciation of the land and its history.

During the 3-hour drive, we gained insight into the Middle Eastern geopolitical situation from our knowledgeable Israeli guide. The geopolitical context brought forth by this region is complex with two nations, Israel and Palestine, both deeply entwined in this land’s narrative. Such complexity provides us with an invaluable lesson about understanding different points of view as both sides have a seemingly convincing side to their story.
The last stop of the day was at Mount Gerizim – the ‘Mountain of Blessings’


The first stop of our tour took us to Acts 8; the chapter where Peter and John were sent from Jerusalem to Samaria due to their acceptance of the Gospel preached by Phillip. Here we heard a short talk on the significance of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the Samaritans (Perspective on Acts 8 – Samaria).

We had the privilege of exploring Samaria and its incalculable biblical heritage. First, we visited two ancient ruins – Herod’s Basilica (2000 years old) and Omri (2900 years old) – giving us a glimpse into the Roman era and Old Testament history of this region. (King Omri in Samaria)

We then enjoyed a delectable home-made Palestinian lunch. Some adventurous tour participants even went on an exciting camel ride after the meal. The experience was truly unforgettable!

Mount Gerizim

After that refreshing stop in Samaria, I was awoken by my wife from a nap as our tour bus approached the highest peak in the region, and a place of immense religious significance. We watched a video that revealed the similarities and differences between the Jews and Samaritans, with differing places of worship being one key factor as highlighted in John 4.

As we looked upon Mount Gerizim (The Mountain of Blessings) and its counterpart, Mount Ebal (The Mountain of Curses), we were immediately struck by the huge settlement of Muslim Arab Palestinians in the valley between the two. The entire region gave us a real glimpse into these different communities (Palestinians, Jews and Samaritans) living side by side, in such close but tense proximity.

It was an incredibly meaningful experience that provided us more insight into ancient biblical than any textbook ever could. Even after reclining to our hotel in Taybeh, the insights gleaned continue to linger and will undoubtedly stay with us for a long time.


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