DAY 10 – WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 23: PRECIPICE OF NAZARETH, MEGIDDO, MT. CARMEL, CAESAREA, JERUSALEM
After three full days here in the Galilee, we checked out from our hotel on the Sea of Galilee and drove south. Our final destination would be Jerusalem later this afternoon. Once again, it was sunny, with perfect highs in the low 70s.
Precipice of Nazareth
Located in the region of the Lower Galilee, our first stop was to the Precipice of Nazareth. The view from here gave us our first look at the Jezreel Valley below. Although it was hazy again, we also could see Mt. Tabor (Judges 4-5), the Hill or Moreh (Judges 6-7), and Mt. Gilboa in the distance (1 Sam. 31). We read from Luke 4 and talked about Jesus’ teaching in Nazareth’s synagogue. We also recalled John 1 about how Philip simply invited others to “come and see” Jesus! We even saw a blooming mandrake (Gen. 30, Songs of Songs 7) along the pathway.
Crossing the Jezreel Valley (Israel’s largest valley and bread-basket of the country) brought us to a large archaeological site called Megiddo. This site has at least two dozen layers of occupation spanning about 2,500 years! It was first inhabited in the Canaanite Period. Climbing the tel, we saw three different stone gate systems, Israelite stables, storehouse, and grain silo. An earlier Canaanite altar could also be seen. Overlooking the valley, we read from Rev. 16 that references Armageddon. We entrusted the end times scenario and the return of Christ to unfold in God’s sovereign way! We are on the winning side!
“Leaving the Galilee area today was sort of sad, but the sites we saw along the way to Jerusalem were great. All the sites we saw today – the Precipice of Nazareth, Megiddo, Mt. Carmel, and Caesarea were all great sites with great connections to the Bible. But entering Jerusalem tonight was beyond special!” – Tour member –
The mountain range that separates the Jezreel Valley and the Sharon Plain is the Carmel Range. First we ate lunch at another Druze restaurant. We then drove to Muhraha, a Carmelite chapel on the top peak of there mountain. It was here where Elijah defeated the 450 prophets of Baal, the Canaanite god of rain & thunder. In the small chapel we read the story from 1 Kings 18 (Songs of Songs 7, Isaiah 35, and Amos 1 also mention Mt. Carmel). We also enjoyed singing a song here. The view from the top of the chapel roof gave us our third and final view of the Jezreel Valley below!
Our last stop of the day was Caesarea. Located on the shoreline of the Mediterranean Sea, this was a harbor city established by Herod the Great in 22 BC. Peter was here (Acts 10), Phillip (Acts 21), and Paul (Acts 8, 21, 26). Among the many ruins we saw the reconstructed theater, the palace, the hippodrome, and Crusader city, and the area of the harbor itself. We also saw mosaics and marble statutes and pillars. We even saw a few couples taking their wedding pictures. Before leaving this ancient city, we made a brief stop at the aqueduct.
From here we drove about 2 hours up to Jerusalem. Ascending from the Coastal Plains to the Hill Country of Judah, we arrived and checked in at our hotel in the west side of Jerusalem. After dinner, most in the group enjoyed an orientation walk to the famous Western Wall. The way to the Wall was incredible as we walked with about 750+ young Israel Defense Force soldiers who were heading to the Wall as well for a ceremonial induction. It was a special honor to experience this! On the way back we walked through the Jewish Quarter.