Day Six: Beth-Shean, Jericho, Qumran (Dead Sea Scrolls)

img_0091-2012-03-13-20-56.jpg Model of Ancient Beth-Shean

We started out our day in the ancient city of Beth-Shean. This is an incredible on-going excavation that helps us put Roman/Greek culture in context, giving clarity to much of the Apostle Paul’s ministry and insight into New Testament. We spent some time looking at stories from the book of Acts and Paul’s letters, thinking about how Roman/Greek culture influenced the New Testament and especially the advancement of the Gospel in the early Church. We closed out our time reflecting on how Paul engaged culture and modeled what it meant to be “in” the world, but not “of” the world.

p1020466-2012-03-13-20-56.jpg Roman Cardo (Main Street) Beth-Shean

p1020474-2012-03-13-20-56.jpg Teaching Out of Acts 13 & 17 and I Samuel 31:8-13 at Beth-Shean

1 Samuel 31:8–13 (ESV)
8 The next day, when the Philistines came to strip the slain, they found Saul and his three sons fallen on Mount Gilboa. 9 So they cut off his head and stripped off his armor and sent messengers throughout the land of the Philistines, to carry the good news to the house of their idols and to the people. 10 They put his armor in the temple of Ashtaroth, and they fastened his body to the wall of Beth-shan. 11 But when the inhabitants of Jabesh-gilead heard what the Philistines had done to Saul, 12 all the valiant men arose and went all night and took the body of Saul and the bodies of his sons from the wall of Beth-shan, and they came to Jabesh and burned them there. 13 And they took their bones and buried them under the tamarisk tree in Jabesh and fasted seven days.

p1020491-2012-03-13-20-56.jpg Teaching On The Jericho Tel- Joshua 3-7

This year was the first year in 12 years I have been able to go to Jericho. This was great time, as I a was able to teach some of my favorite passages out of Joshua; The crossing of the Jordan, the fall of Jericho, and the salvation of Rahab. Jericho is a mentioned many times in scripture, including the story of Zaccheaus and Elisha. It was here I was able to teach on one of my favorite topics, leadership and education in the family from the Old Testament example of leading your children to ask questions.

Joshua 4:6–8 (ESV)
6 that this may be a sign among you. When your children ask in time to come, ‘What do those stones mean to you?’ 7 then you shall tell them that the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD. When it passed over the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. So these stones shall be to the people of Israel a memorial forever.”
8 And the people of Israel did just as Joshua commanded and took up twelve stones out of the midst of the Jordan, according to the number of the tribes of the people of Israel, just as the LORD told Joshua. And they carried them over with them to the place where they lodged and laid them down there.
Joshua 4:19–24 (ESV)
19 The people came up out of the Jordan on the tenth day of the first month, and they encamped at Gilgal on the east border of Jericho. 20 And those twelve stones, which they took out of the Jordan, Joshua set up at Gilgal. 21 And he said to the people of Israel, “When your children ask their fathers in times to come, ‘What do these stones mean?’ 22 then you shall let your children know, ‘Israel passed over this Jordan on dry ground.’ 23 For the LORD your God dried up the waters of the Jordan for you until you passed over, as the LORD your God did to the Red Sea, which he dried up for us until we passed over, 24 so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the hand of the LORD is mighty, that you may fear the LORD your God forever.”

p1020493-2012-03-13-20-56.jpg Teaching On The Jericho Tel- Joshua 3-7

p1020509-2012-03-13-20-56.jpg Teaching At The Spring of Elisha

2 Kings 2:15–22 (ESV)
Elisha Succeeds Elijah
15 Now when the sons of the prophets who were at Jericho saw him opposite them, they said, “The spirit of Elijah rests on Elisha.” And they came to meet him and bowed to the ground before him. 16 And they said to him, “Behold now, there are with your servants fifty strong men. Please let them go and seek your master. It may be that the Spirit of the LORD has caught him up and cast him upon some mountain or into some valley.” And he said, “You shall not send.” 17 But when they urged him till he was ashamed, he said, “Send.” They sent therefore fifty men. And for three days they sought him but did not find him. 18 And they came back to him while he was staying at Jericho, and he said to them, “Did I not say to you, ‘Do not go’?”
19 Now the men of the city said to Elisha, “Behold, the situation of this city is pleasant, as my lord sees, but the water is bad, and the land is unfruitful.” 20 He said, “Bring me a new bowl, and put salt in it.” So they brought it to him. 21 Then he went to the spring of water and threw salt in it and said, “Thus says the LORD, I have healed this water; from now on neither death nor miscarriage shall come from it.” 22 So the water has been healed to this day, according to the word that Elisha spoke.

Luke 19:1–10 (ESV)
Jesus and Zacchaeus
19 He entered Jericho and was passing through. 2 And behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus. He was a chief tax collector and was rich. 3 And he was seeking to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was small in stature. 4 So he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see him, for he was about to pass that way. 5 And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for I must stay at your house today.” 6 So he hurried and came down and received him joyfully. 7 And when they saw it, they all grumbled, “He has gone in to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.” 8 And Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor. And if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it fourfold.” 9 And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, since he also is a son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”

p1020516-2012-03-13-20-56.jpg Qumran: Dead Sea Scroll Cave

We finished our day at Qumran as we looked at the Essene Community and how they preserved much of the Old Testament through meticulous copying. The historic find of the Dead Sea scrolls in 1947 reminds us of the inerrancy, infallibility, authority, and sufficiency of the word of God. Here we spent some time teaching on II Timothy 3:16-17 as we considered the inspired word of God and it’s impact on our lives.

2 Timothy 3:16–17 (ESV)
16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.


About George Ross

I am a pastor, church planter, husband, and father of four.
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