DAY 3 – TUESDAY, MARCH 19: CAESAREA, CARMEL, MEGIDDO, PRECIPICE OF NAZARETH, TIBERIAS
Today was our first full day in Israel. The weather was perfect, with full sun and highs in the 70s. Despite the jet lag and/or limited sleep for some last night, it was a fantastic day!
After a full breakfast at the hotel, we checked out and loaded the bus for a short drive to Caesarea Maritima. This was built in the Sharon Plain along the Mediterranean coastline by Herod the Great in 22 BC. Sitting in the theater, we read about Peter being here (Acts 10), as well as Herod Agrippa (Acts 22), Philip (Acts 21) and Paul (Acts 9, 21, 26). Both Peter and Paul were bold to proclaim Christ here. Walking to the other side of the city, we also saw the ancient palace, the fresh-fresh-water swimming pool, the hippodrome, many mosaics, statutes, and the area of the harbor. Before leaving the site we saw the aqueduct that brought fresh water into the city from the Carmel Range.
Ascending to the top of the Carmel Range, we had our first view of the Jezreel Valley below. Inside the Carmelite chapel we read from Amos 1, Isaiah 35, 2 Kings 4, Song of Songs 7, and the primary story from 1 Kings 18. This last passage places Elijah the prophet here, boldly challenging the prophet of Baal. The view from the top of the roof was very good, allowing us to see Mt. Gilboa (1 Samuel 31), the Hill of Moreh (Judges 6-7), and Mt. Tabor Judges 4-5). We ate lunch (falafel!) At a nearby place owned by a Druze family.
“Today was our first full day here in Israel. We enjoyed very nice weather. We connected with so many stories from the Bible already, even though we just finished our first day. It was already incredible!” -Tour Member-
Driving down along the edge of the Jezreel Valley we arrived at Megiddo. This ancient city is a premier archaeological site that has about 25 layers of occupation spanning about 2,500 years! After seeing a model of the site, we climbed the tel (ancient mound). We saw three ancient gates, the stables of Solomon, remnants of palaces, a Canaanite altar, and an Israelite grain silo. We recalled what Revelation 16 says about Armageddon and rejoiced that how ever the end times will unfold, God will hav the final word! We exited the site by walking down into the impressive water system.
Precipice of Nazareth
We ended the day we our third view of the Jezreel Valley from the Precipice of Nazareth. Once again, Mt. Tabor, the Hill of Moreh, Mt. Gilboa, and The Carmel Range could all be seen from here. This are served as the backyard of Jesus. We read from Luke 4 and John 1 as we heeded the invitation of Philip to “come and see” Jesus anew in the context of the culture and region.
From here we drove to our kibbutz-hotel located along the NW corner of the Sea of Galilee. After dinner, many of us enjoyed a brief time down on the lakeshore. We are looking forward a good night sleep!