Posted by: cindybythesea | November 15, 2013

The Harvest is Ripe – part 5

As you can see from the photo above, the tip of the clippers is dangerously close to the fingers. One false snip and well, you get the picture. But, picking grapes is not all that we did. Two days of the week was spent touring various Biblical sites in the area. And, I was very excited to learn that our first tour would be taking us to the location where Abraham received the covenant of the land from God. In Genesis chapter 12, the Bible says this:

“Abram travel through the land as far as the site of the great tree of Moreh at Shechem. At that time the Canaanites were in the land. The Lord appeared to Abram and said, ‘To your offspring I will give this land’ . So he built an altar there to the Lord who had  appeared to him.”  Genesis 12: 6-7.

It was very early morning and still dark out, when we loaded the buses that would take us to Shechem. It was planned by our hosts that we would be on the mountain before the sun came up. And, in fact, breakfast would be served to us there.  Situated between Mt Gerazim and Mt Ebal, we had a 360 degree view of the land when we arrived just as the sun was coming up. As dark shapes took form in the morning light it was incredible to think that this was the very place that God’s covenant with Abraham was established. A covenant which lasts forever and endures to this day.

Breakfast was warm pumpkin cake topped with a generous helping of fresh plain yogurt. The best I have ever eaten!  It was a quiet moment for most of us. People sitting quietly lost in their own private thoughts, reading their Bibles.  After which, some time was spent in singing and praise and prayer. The music of the vineyards now resonating from the top of the mountain. It was a glorious experience!

From where we were standing, we could see the side of Mount Ebal where Joshua had built an altar to the Lord as recorded in Joshua 8:30. This aerial view photo gives you an idea of how it appeared to us from across the mountain.

One of the highlights of the morning was  a visit from a local Jewish woman, who lives in the area. With an engaging smile and eyes as intense as the land on which she was standing, she explained to us what it means to be a settler in a hostile environment. Describing to us what it is like to live in an area of her own country that is under constant international pressure and contention. An area as dangerous from sources within (the Israeli government) as from without (Palestinian).

Bending beneath international pressure, the Israeli government will from time to time make a show of force by tearing down one of the Jewish homes in the area. Yet, for fear of starting a war or provoking international outrage, they would never dare to touch a Palestinian home.  One morning, while working in the vineyards part of our team witnessed this very thing. From where they were working, they watched as a bulldozer (accompanied by IDF – Israeli Defense Forces) bulldozed down a Jewish home. Sad but true. The tragic result of a country being bullied by the international community to take action against their very own people.

But, no matter, as our friend explained. As soon as the home is torn down, it will be rebuilt for the Jewish settlers are committed to staying in the land they believe is rightfully theirs by covenant of God  – and no pressure from anyone, even their own government will change that.

When she had finished speaking, we were overwhelmed with her courage and committment – and, not just of hers, but, of all the Jewish settlers, who have worked so hard to make the deserts of Judea and Samaria blossom once again into the vineyards and olive groves, we see today..

She wanted to show us where she lived, so, once again, we boarded the bus and traveled to where her home was located at the edge of the Jordan Valley. High on a hillside, her modest little home (just one of a few scattered about) faced out towards a panoramic view of some of the most inhospitable terrain you can imagine.  So poor, they were, she said, that when they built the house they could not even afford a door for the first year they were living there.  Can you imagine that!

After seeing her home, she took us to the only organic dairy farm in the Middle-East, where we were treated to fresh goat cheese and yogurt of every variety. I bought some cheese with caraway seed and had a delightful yogurt drink infused with fresh ripe apricots. It was thick, cold and delicious. And, the kids in the group even got a chance at milking one of the many goats from which the treats were made.

By the end of the day, I was more than ready to return to my bedroll and bunk. From the third tier I was sleeping in, I could see through the window next to me the twinkling lights of the night sky looking much as they might have looked, when Abram and later, Jesus would sleep beneath the same starry sky.  A thought that gave me much comfort and joy as I drifted away in to a peaceful and dreamy sleep.

….. to be continued.

“Pray for the peace of Jerusalem, they shall prosper, who love thee”  Psalm 122:6

Watching and waiting with YOU for the soon return of Jesus!  Cindy


  1. I am enjoying your posts about your trip to Israel very much. I can only imagine what it felt like to be there, but hope one day to really KNOW.

    Thank you.

    [Thank you Karen, I appreciate your comment very much. I hope too you will one day be able to visit the land. I always thought I would have to wait until the express trip – after, we get to heaven, but, the Lord proved me wrong. We just never know what the Lord has in store for us. Thanks for taking this journey with me. Many blessings! C]

  2. Your blog has been awarded @

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