Judean Hill Country Hike

At the beginning of our hike we stopped right before we got into the city of Abu Gosh. Bill mentioned the ridges that led travelers coming from the west to Jerusalem. The number one choice for travelers would be the Beth Horon Ridge, which goes from Gezer to Gibeon and is mentioned in 1 Kings 9:15-16. The second choice would be the route we were on which was the Kiriat Yearim Ridge. The Upper Sorek acts as a “moat” around Jerusalem, making travelers travel by the ridges of mountains instead of a straight shot to Jerusalem from wherever they were in the west. Kiriat Yearim is a city mentioned in the Joshua 9:17, 15:9-10, and 18:14-15. This city is only about a 15 minute walk from Yad Ha Shmonah, where we are staying. The moshav where we are staying is just in the boarder of Dan, while Kiriat Yearim is a shared boarder city of Judah, Benjamin and Dan; but is eventually selected to go to the tribe of Judah. From this view we saw, Bill pointed out Mt. Seir, which is modern Shoresh and Mt. Yearim, which is north of Cesalon. Kiriat Yearim is the place where the fighting men of Dan camped out just west of the city, which today could be Yad Ha Shamonah, the moshav which we are living on(Judges 18:11-12.6-4). Kiriat Yearim is also the place where the Ark of the Covenant staying for over a hundred years until David brought it into Jerusalem (1 Samuel 7:1-2, 7-3, 2 Samuel 6). Also Uriah a prophet contemporary with Jeremiah (Jeremiah 26:20-23) was from Kiriat Yearim and fled from there to go to Egypt because of threats from King Jehoiakim.

eating lunch at Lemon Springs

After a quick stop in the British Fortress which is in Kiriat Yearim, we headed down towards Lemon Springs. In Israel, springs are essential to life, especially if there is a drought. Many references to springs are in the Bible including, Deuteronomy 8:7 and Psalm 104:10, 107:33-35, “For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and springs, flowing forth in valleys and hills…” God did not bring His people into a land like Egypt where they could easily rely on the Nile for their water source. God made it so they would have to rely on Him alone and the water He gave them to live. Therefore, springs were used to store and channel the water God had given Israel for latter use in a time of drought or the summer season.

Our next stop was our hike up to Tsuba. On the way we discovered vineyards and Bill spoke about the verse when Jesus is the branch and we are the vines who are to bear fruit. The vines that do not bear fruit are cut off and thrown away, because they are worthless, even to make firewood. The only possible was from vines to make fruit is by the branch. The branch is never cut off but each year after the vines produce their fruit, they are cut off. We are called to produce fruit and do the will of God, but this also shows that God is eternal and we are but a vapor, here for a season and gone the next.

"I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing."-John 15:5

Once we got to Tsuba, we could see the expanse of where we hiked from, we even saw West Jerusalem in the distance. Tsuba was mentioned in 2 Samuel 23:36, for one of David’s mighty men was from there. Today, the site is a ruin from the Crusader period.

From here, we went to a second spring, and the larger of the two. The spring itself was housed in room that enclosed it. We could see the source of the water if we crawled through a tunnel. But through the tunnel the water flowed into a deep pool which three guys from our group did back flips and jumped into.

jumping into the spring after a long hike

Each hike, there is a verse we are to memorize and then later take a quiz on. This verse was from Psalm 121:1-8 and some of the imagery used in the psalm was more vivid to me here in the land of Israel and on that hike than it had been to me in the States. In verse 3 it says, “He will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber.” On the rocky terrain of the Judean Hill Country, I did stumble a few times; mud made it difficult not to stand firm when climbing up a steep hill. However, God says He will not let me stumble or my foot to be moved. He is a God who never sleeps, He is a God who is closer than my right hand and He is a God who will keep my soul from all evil. The Lord has, is, and will forevermore protect me and keep me.

2 Responses

  1. Loved hearing about the springs, Sarah. I especially liked the Psalm 121 reference. Thankful that He is with you and all your fellow students way on the other side of the world just as He is with your friend and family, here in the US.

    Liked the picture of the flowers with the reference to the vine and the branches. May God give us the grace to live for Him!!

    Love you sweetie,
    Mom <

  2. […] 1Judean Hill Country Hike « newshalom SUBMIT […]

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