Trip to Turkey 20. Pauls Well

This well is part of a archeological site containing ruins of a house that’s meant to date from the time of Paul.

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Its just 5TL to get into this site.  From the historical signs;

When Paul was born in Tarsus during the reign of Emperor Augustus circa 5-AD, the region of Cilicia whose capital was Tarsus was ruled by the stole philosopher Atendoruis.

pauls well 2 1024At those times Tarsus was famous for its textile industry. They would produce strong clothes made of goat bred on the Taurus Mountains. Paul has learned to weave there. The people of Tarsus had a cosmopolitan structure. Phoenicians, Persians, Greeks, Jews and people of many nationalities had lived here together. The arrival and settling of Jews of Tarsus occurred during the reign of Antiochus III, in between BC 223-187, during the Seleucids period.

During that time, Christianity was newly spread after the crucifixion of Jesus in Jerusalem and those who were Christians were being tormented. Saint Stephen was stoned to death because he believed in Jesus Christ. The people stoned him laid down their clothes at Paul’s feet. Paul too consented to Stephen’s death. After this event Saul entered house after house of the believers of Christ and oppressed them. He then went to the High Priest and asked for a letter to be sent to the synagogues in Damascus. Saul intended to imprison any who believed in Jesus and bring them to Jerusalem.

Following his baptising, Paul devoted his life to spread Christianity and then he journeyed three times for this mission, and this mission took ten year. In one of his journeys he was arrested and presented himself t a Roman commander with these words: “I am a Jew, from Tarsus in Cillicia, a citizen of no mean city.” Acts 21 : 39. In his journeys, he has survived through many hardships, and traveled to Anatolia, Greece and Rome and spread Christianity. Finally in Rome he was arrested during the reign of Emperor Nero, and was beheaded. His tomb rests in the church built after his name, the Cathedral of Saint Paul.

A well maintained garden, not dissimilar to Jerusalem’s garden tomb, this is a good place to contemplate on how to gospel was spread

Previous 19. Grapes of Tarsus
Next 21. Signs of unrest in Tarsus


My friend Mazzen Arab evangelist who loves Jews and Israel

Here is a great testimony of my good friend Mazzen Warra, he is an Arab believer from Palestinian city of Ramallah, but lives in the US, we met at King of Kings Church in Jerusalem through another Arab friend of mine, where he has a deep love of Jewish and Arab people.

mazzenMy name is Mazzen. I was born in Israel in 1971. born in the west bank town called Ramallah. I came to America in 1973. my mother and father were separated. I was raised by my Grandmother. I was abused by my family and at the age of 11 i started to smoke marijuana which led me to cocaine.. which led me to crack. and was addicted to pornography. I was going through anxiety and depression. I Thought about committing suicide. and I also had hate in my heart toward Jewish people. because I was brainwashed into believing that the Jews were the ones who took my land. this way thinking led me to go to Palestinian protests against Israel. Than 20 years ago at the age of 20 I was at the Israeli Embassy shouting. ”Death To Israel”. I’ve been to Israel many times and there i was part of the Palestinian uprising called “Intifada” there I threw stones at the Israeli soldiers and had been shot at many times.

Than in 2006 something happened in my life. after a bad relationship with a woman. i was left empty and depressed. and had no hope.. At that point an uncle of mine, told me. would you like to go to Virginia with me, than at that point in time my uncle who is a believer in Jesus.. told me that Yeshua Jesus can give me hope, peace, joy. and is able to fill me up with his presence.. As we were going and returning from Virginia, the Holy Spirit began to touch me.. than as I returned to NJ. i was driving my car. and for the very first time I said ”Jesus if you are real. change my life and I will walk with you the rest of my life and never go back to the world” Than the Lord led me to a church called Faith Fellowship in Sayerville NJ.  I went there on a Thursday night and they had a play on the Birth of Jesus showing.. At the end of the play, they made an alter call for salvation. At that time i raised my hand to receive Jesus. In that moment i saw people cheering and clapping for me. and all of Heaven opened up in that place with a Beautiful light.. I was given a CD and a Bible. and in the weeks to come the lord continually brought me back to the church. In the 2 months that i was going to Church. God healed all my suffering all my brokenness and all the pain i was feeling including the emotions I was feeling from the broken relationship.. I started to serve as an usher at Faith Fellowship, than began to work in the prison ministry that went to Middlesix county Jail. And than I fell in love with reaching through street evangelism and preaching the gospel on the streets all over NJ with fire, zeal, and passion.. after 3 years i moved on from Faith Fellowship.

 One day I was driving and put the radio on to 570 am christian radio, and heard a broadcast of “The Two Nice Jewish boys” with Rabbi Jonathan Cahn and Gary Seldman.  The Lord at that moment told me to call in to the show and speak with Rabbi Jonathan. I felt the anointing and spoke with passion and fire to Jonathan about my personal testimony and he invited me to Beth Israel. on a Friday. and when i went he came up to me without knowing my face and asked me if I was Mazzen, than he told me to come and sit in the front area,. at the end of the service he asked me if i would be able to pray the Aaronic blessings in Arabic after he says it in Hebrew. so i was blessed to do it. I returned the following Sunday, and continued to return thereafter. and eventually became a member. I’m now an Usher at Beth Israel Messianic Congregation,and also a commissioned minister here in the church,I work on the building, and am a missionary with the Spanish Ministry to South America. It was here I began to build a Love for the Jewish people and there culture. And realized that the Jews and the Arabs are not enemies because they are the seed of Abraham through Issac and Ishmael.

Fast forward 20 years from the time i was persecuting the Israel and her people. I found myself in the same place praying and blessing Israel with my Shofar with brothers and sisters in Christ with great love.

More on this video too:

Trip to Turkey 19. Grapes of Tarsus

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What do you think of with Paul’s home town of Tarsus? actually this place is famous for grapes as you can see on the logo outside the municipality buildings.

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It seems almost every other house in Tarsus has a frame for vines.


Even on top of this really tiny little office.   Every spare bit of roof space can be used.

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DSCF9162 1024With every  Turkish man and his dog growing grapes you expect to be lots of wine for sale right?

Well, I looked in various small corner stores and even a big western style supermarket and I couldn’t find anyone with locally made stuff.  So this bottle I got which is actually made in the eastern city of Izimir.

Previous 18. Tarsus’ stunning waterfall
Next 20. Pauls Well



Trip to Turkey 18. Tarsus’ stunning waterfall

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Tarsus features a spectacular waterfall!!

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There are three restaurants on different sides.   Its peaceful to just sit and watch the fast flowing water and people paddling.

IMG_20160409_163527282 1024The Berdan river runs through here containing silt from the Central Taurus mountains. The course of the river was changed by Byzantine emperor Justinian.  People come here to bathe, but some people have got seriously ill, as Alexander the Great is said to have bathed here, but later got pneumonia and died in Syria.  Today this waterfall is 15 metres high, and has a flow of 138 cubic metres a second.

Big surprise here, in Israel folks like drinking Turkish coffee (which has a large amount of sediment in the bottom)   but Turks actually prefer drinking unsweetened black tea.   I’ve not see this interesting teapot with stand before.    In my hotel, there was a tea dispensed out of a catering machine, but coffee was some very ordinary Nescafe in a jar that was mostly ignored by the other folks during breakfast.

Previous 17. New tentmakers of Tarsus?
Next 19. Grapes of Tarsus

Trip to Turkey 17. New tentmakers of Tarsus?

After this fairly long bus ride of heading from Goereme, Cappadocia to Tarsus, I was excited to go and discover the birth place of the legendary apostle Paul.

I’m looking out my hotel room window;

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I see this, its a restaurant.  It looks nice but its not open at the few days I was there.  Maybe its only open during the summer season.

In the past I often wondered when the bible talks about Paul being a tent maker, if its literally a canvass dwelling or something else.   I can only find one reference in the scriptures;

Acts 18 : 18 After this, Paul left Athens and went to Corinth. 2 There he met a Jew named Aquila, a native of Pontus, who had recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla, because Claudius had ordered all Jews to leave Rome. Paul went to see them, 3 and because he was a tentmaker as they were, he stayed and worked with them.

Corinth and Athens are of course in Greece.   Pontus was in now what we call Turkey on the Black Sea coast the opposite side of where I am now.

Looking at this now, it makes sense if you are running a business for a temporary amount of time, a fabric walled place is what you need, easy to dismantle and move to where you want.  Today’s Turks are very industrious type of people, I went past a lot of small factories, metal workshops and carpenters, and as you can see here another steel frame is there ready to hang another canvass on when needed.

With Paul’s ministry being making disciples he got to stay with a lot of kind people who took him in, but maybe he could of made a kind of ‘flat pack kit church’ if there wasn’t a home (or cave!) big enough to hold the early believers in.

Previous 16. Cappadocia from a hill
Next 18. Tarsus’ stunning waterfall

Trip to Turkey 16. Cappadocia from a hill

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This gent played some middle eastern style music on a Oud type guitar.

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You don’t have to shell a lot of money on a balloon ride to enjoy Cappadocia, some of the sights can be seen by just climbing up some hills.

I spent most evenings up here with people from the youth hostel.

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1 Peter 1 : 1 To God’s elect, exiles scattered throughout the provinces of Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia, 2 who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to be obedient to Jesus Christ and sprinkled with his blood: Grace and peace be yours in abundance.

It was time to leave Goereme, Cappadocia, to get on a bus to a different part of the country

Previous 15. Selime Katedrali – The cave cathedral
Next 17. New tentmakers of Tarsus?

Trip to Turkey 15. Selime Katedrali – The cave cathedral

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This church is the biggest collection of caves and can be seen from the road.

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This really looks other-world and very not like any other religious meeting places you will see.

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Looking from the top sections of the church back to the road.

Its incredible to think that these incredible looking rock formations has a serious role, as a meeting place, where baptisms happened, and people were to taught how to preach the gospel to the local areas and beyond.

Its worth seeing this place and the other significant places with a tour guide.   Mine only cost me £25 for the day which included lunch and all admission fees.

This church dates from 313AD, more here:-

Previous 14. The caves have eyes
Next 16. Cappadocia from a hill

Trip to Turkey 14. The caves have eyes

More churches in caves here in Ihlara near Cappadocia in Turkey with pictures on the roofs of biblical characters.

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Our tour guide told us something strange.   There is damage and graffiti on these walls, but oddly mostly through scrubbing out the eyes and faces of Jesus, Mary and the apostles.

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But also, there are eyes painted onto the walls as well!!

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DSCF8963 1024Here in Turkey, the eyes are now a cultural icon, showing up on all kinds of goods including these fridge magnets.

This is strange, as I know that Judaism and Islam have a kind of added on superstitious tradition of an ‘evil eye’  this is often seen with the Hand of Fatima, a kind of good luck amulet to warn evil spirits, I’ve seen this some Jews in Israel as well as Muslims in Morocco.   In Judaism this is comes from Kaballah which is a form of mysticism and not biblical.   The hand of Fatima I think is actually an Islamic thing.

These eyes were part of something superstitious added on the church.  When you think of that Paul had to reprimand the early Christians for bringing in unbiblical teachings, this isn’t that much of a surprise.

Previous 13. The Ihlara Vadisi Plani Canyon
Next 15. Selime Katedrali – The cave cathedral


My observations of incubating radical Islam in Brussels

A few years ago I visited Brussels twice as it was a convenient way of breaking up my journey from Tel Aviv back to London, by landing in Liege and getting a Eurostar from Brussels to London.

Did Brussels have a radical Islam problem long before the recent terror attacks?

I think so.

islamic grafitti

I saw this graffiti.

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And this Islamic book shop.   Author Israel Shamir maybe of a Jewish background but he is a holocaust denier.  This gives the haters of Israel the “some of my best friends are ____” argument, but this is still filth that these shops are peddling.

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Sharia Banks.    My bank Lloyds does Sharia banking too.   I’m thinking of ditching them over this.


Trip to Turkey 13. The Ihlara Vadisi Plani Canyon

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The canyon.   A little bit of a drive from Goereme.

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Quite an incredible view!   There is quite a lot of steps to the bottom.

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This place in the middle of the bottom of the canyon offered juice stands and a simple cafe, and a small mosque/prayer place in a shed.   Looks like its probably a popular place for camping.

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This was a great place to have lunch, in this building by the river.   I got chatting to a man on our group who happened to be a pastor from Los Angeles, it was great to talk about biblical history in the whole middle east area.

There are different cave churches around the canyon.  Our group leader told us that there was a population exchange with Greece in 1924, so most of the Christians have gone.

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Up here was a cave church with some unusual discoveries in….

Previous 12. The Open Air Museum and cave churches
Next 14. The caves have eyes!