DAY 3 – MONDAY, NOVEMBER 5: CAESAREA, CARMEL, MEGIDDO, PRECIPICE OF NAZARETH, TIBERIAS
Today was our first full day in Israel. With a mix of Old and New Testament sites, the connections we made with Scripture already has made the Bible come alive. The weather was pleasant, with highs in the low 70s. The afternoon brought a few showers.
After a great breakfast, we checked out of our hotel and loaded the bus. By 7:35, we were off to Caesarea. Located on the coastline of the Mediterranean Sea, the city was built by Herod the Great starting in 22 BC. In the theater we read from Acts 10 (about Peter and Cornelius), Acts 12 (Herod Agrippa), Acts 21 (Philip and Paul), and Acts 26 (Paul). We also enjoyed singing a few songs together. We also saw the palace area, the hippodrome, and many mosaics. Inside the Crusader part of the city, we saw the location where the harbor was. (Paul sailed in and out of this port a few times). Before leaving the site, we saw the aqueduct as well.
The Carmel Range
Driving north in the Sharon Plain, we drove to the Carmel Range. After a great lunch as a place owned by a Druze family, we drove the top of the Carmel called Muhraqa. It was somewhere here where Elijah confronted the 450 false prophet of Baal. We read from I Kings 18 (as well as Amos 1, Isaiah 35, and the Song of Songs 7). While the view was not the best, the rooftop of the chapel provided us our first perspective of the Jezreel Valley below.
“Today was our first full day, and it was incredible. What surprised me was how close everything is here in Israel. And also to look at archaeological ruins, some of which are over 4,000 years old! the Bible is about to ‘come alive’ in real ways on this trip!” -Tour member-
Descending to the Jezreel Valley, our next stop was Megiddo. This site dates back to the Early Bronze period. The site has over two dozen stratigraphy levels spanning about 2,500 years! After a few our our folks getting locked in the bathroom stalls, we climbed the tel (ancient mound). We saw three gate structures from the OT period (including one built by Solomon, see 1 Kings 9), the stables, a few palaces, and the grain bin. Looking out over the valley (also called the Valley of Armegeddon, Rev. 16), we celebrated that in the end times, God has the last word! We left the site by descending down 180 steps through the water system.
Precipice of Nazareth
Driving northward through the Jezreel Valley, our last experience of the day was the Precipice of Nazareth. Following a fairly nice sunset and while sitting down on the rocks, we read from Luke 4 and John 1. We were invited to “come and see” (John 1). See this part of the Jezreel Valley at dusk was very special!
From here we drove to our hotel on the northwest side of the Sea of Galilee. We checked in and enjoyed dinner together. Some walked down to the water’s edge and saw the lights of Tiberias.
It was a great first full day!