DAY 8 – SUNDAY, JULY 19
This morning we said goodbye to the Sea of Galilee. After another great sunrise and breakfast, we loaded our luggage and drove southwest to our first site, Sepporis. This was the main city in this lower Galilee region and was located only 4-5 miles from Nazareth. Here we saw the main Roman stone streets of the city (“Cardo” and “Decumanus”), the theater, and many mosaics, including the famous “Mona Lisa” of the Galilee.
Nearby we visited the “precipice” of Nazareth. From here we enjoyed our first full view of the Jezreel Valley. We could see Mt. Tabor (Judges 4-5), the Hill of Moreh (Judges 6-7), Mt. Gilboa (1 Samuel 31), Megiddo (Rev. 16), and Mt. Carmel (1 Kings 18). We also read about Jesus’ ministry here in the synagogue (Luke 4). We reflected on what Phillip said, “Come and see!” from John 1 in response to Nathaniel’s question, “what good can come out of Nazareth?”
Driving across the Jezreel Valley, we visited Megiddo. Located strategically guarding the natural pass that leads into the valley, Megiddo boasts of over two dozen levels of civilization over the span of about 2,500 years. We saw various ancient gates here as well as walking through the water system. We read from Revelation 16 and rejoiced together in God’s control over the world.
Driving through the Mt. Carmel range, we enjoyed lunch at another Druze place before driving to Muhraqa (“burnt offering”), a Carmelite chapel overlooking the Jezreel Valley below. We read from 1 Kings 18 about Elijah’s confrontation vs. the prophets of Baal. The view of the valley from this direction was fairly descent despite the summer haze.
Our last stop of the day was Caesarea. Located on the coast in the Sharon Plain, we visited the theater, hippodrome, Crusader part of the city, the harbor area, and the aqueduct, among other things. This city was built by Herod the Great from 22-10 BC. He was sure an impressive builder!
From here we drove to Jerusalem. We checked in, had dinner, and then walked to the Western Wall. We are looking forward to the next four days in this grand city!
DAY 9 – MONDAY, JULY 20: JERUSALEM, BETHLEHEM, HERODIUM