DAY 4 – WEDNESDAY, APRIL 29
Our first full day here in Israel was a warm one, with highs reaching the mid 90s. After a wonderful buffet breakfast, we left the hotel at 7:45. Our first site, Caesarea, was only about 10 miles north on the coastline. Built by King Herod in 22 BC, this coastal city was the main harbor into Israel during the days of the New Testament. After watching a video on the history of Caesarea, we entered the theater. We read from Acts 10 (about Peter and Cornelius), 12 (about Herod Agrippa I) and 26 (about the boldness of Paul). We also saw here the palace, the Pilate inscription, the hippodrome, the Crusader part of the city, and the aqueduct that brought water into the city from Mt. Carmel 4-5 miles away. Carmel was our next destination. We read from 1 Kings 18 about Elijah vs. the 450 prophets of Baal. From the rooftop of this Carmelite chapel called Muhraqa, we saw the Jezreel Valley for the first time.
Following a great lunch at a Druze restaurant, we descended down to the edge of the Jezreel Valley to the impressive archaeological site of Megiddo. The city boasts of 25 different levels of occupancy. Megiddo served a strategic city guarding the main entrance into the valley. We read from Revelation 16 about “Armegeddon.” We rejoiced in knowing God has the final word in the end of days, and our victory is found in Him and in the return of Christ! We saw a number of gate structures, the sacrificial Canaanite altar, and the granary. We exited the site through the water system, descending 180 steps to the water tunnel, and then 60 steps back up. The bus picked us up.
We continue from here to the Jewish site of Sepporis. During the time of Jesus, this city was one of the most culturally significant. We saw beautiful mosaics, including the Mona Lisa of the Galilee. We also saw part of the Roman villa and the theater. To end the day, we drove to the nearby the precipice of Nazareth. We read from Luke 4 and John 1 as we were invited to “come and see” Jesus in the context of Nazareth and the surrounding area. We enjoyed a quiet time of reflection here. Driving through Cana (John 2) we finally arrived in Tiberias. Before descending to our hotel on the shoreline of the Sea of Galilee, we stopped briefly for a wonderful panoramic view of this body of water Israelis call the Kinneret (“harp”). We checked in, enjoyed dinner, and then an optional gathering on the terrace.
What a great first day here in Israel!
DAY 5 – THURSDAY, APRIL 30
We plan to visit the plains of Bethsaida, The Golan Heights, Gamla, Qatzrin, Ben Tal, Caesarea Philippi, and Dan. We also may see, if time permits, Abel Beit Maaacah.