DAY 3 – TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 5: CAESAREA, CARMEL, MEGIDDO, PRECIPICE OF NAZARETH, TIBERIA
Today was our first full day here in Israel. It was also enjoyed great weather, with full sun and highs in the low 80s.
After a full breakfast, we loaded the two buses and drove a short distance to Caesarea. This was a site built by Herod the Great in 22 BC (completed in 10 BC). Among the ruins we saw the palace, a replica of the Pilate Inscription, the hippodrome, the area of the harbor (that Paul used at least three times), and the Crusader walls and gates of the city. In the theater we read from Acts 9, 10, 12, and 26. Both Peter and Paul shared body their faith here. Paul spent two years here before he sailed to Rome. Before leaving the site we saw the aqueduct that brought fresh water into the city from the Carmel Range.
Leaving the Sharon Plain we ascended to the heights of the Carmel Range. After eating lunch at a Druze restaurant we visited Muhraqa, a Carmelite chapel on the highest peak of the range. We read from 1 Kings 18 about Elijah. We also referenced other passages connecting us with Carmel (Song of Songs 7, 2 Kings 4, Amos 1, Isaiah 35). While it was a bit hazy, the view of the Jezreel Valley from the roof of the chapel was impressive.
“I still can’t believe I am in the land of Israel! Seems so surreal! Today we visited a few places. My favorite was the precipice of Nazareth. To just think that this area served as the ‘back yard’ of Jesus is incredible! I could picture Jesus being here!” – Tour Member –
Descending off the slopes of the Carmel, we arrive at Megiddo. Located strategically on the edge of the Jezreel Valley and guarding the most direct route into the valley from the Sharon Plain, this ancient city was has about 25 occupation levels that span about 2,500 years! The ruins date from the Early Bronze/Canaanite period to Iron Age/Israelite period. Climbing the tel (“ancient mound”), we saw three different city gates, Solomon’s stables, the palace, and a grain silo from the 9th century BC. We also had a great view of the valley, along with Mt. Carmel (1 Kings 18), Nazareth Ridge (Luke 1,4), Mt. Tabor (Judges 4-5), the Hill of Moreh (Judges 6-7), and Mt. Gilboa (1 Samuel 31). We also remembered Revelation 16 about how God has the final word when Christ returns!
Precipice of Nazareth
Our last stop of the day was to the Precipice of Nazareth. From here we gained our third and final view of the Jerzeel Valley below. We read from Luke 4 (Isaiah 61, 58:6) and John 1 about Jesus. We paused to see Jesus anew, adhering to Philip’s invitation to “come and see” Him. We also enjoyed a nice sunset.
Nof Ginnosar/Sea of Galilee
Challenged by the traffic through Nazareth and Cana, we finally arrived at our hotel for the next three nights, Nof Ginnosar. Located just north of Tiberias, the hotel was built along the shoreline of the lake. After checking in and dinner, we enjoyed a brief time together down on the water’s edge.