DAY 3 – SUNDAY, OCTOBER 14: CAESAREA, CARMEL, MEGIDDO, PRECIPICE OF NAZARETH, TIBERIAS
Today was our first full day here in Israel, and it was a good one! The weather was sunny, with perfect temps in the low 80s. The breeze made it feel comfortable. We traveled through a number of regions today (Sharon Plain, Carmel Range, Jezreel Valley, the the Lower Galilee).
Following a great buffet breakfast, we loaded the bus and drove north to Caesarea. This was a city built by Herod the Great in 22 BC. Sitting in the reconstructed Roman theater we read from the many stories from the Book of Acts: Acts 10 (Peter), Acts 12 (Herod Agrippa I), Acts 21 (Philip), and Acts 26 (Paul). Following the theater, we saw the palace area (most likely where Paul gave his bold testimony), the hippodrome, many mosaics, the Crusader walls of the city, the foundation of the Temple of Augustus, and the outing in the water of the famous harbor. We left Caesarea but not before seeing the aqueduct that brought fresh water into the city from the Carmel Range.
Driving north in the Sharon Plain we soon ascended the Carmel Range. In the small Carmelite chapel we read from Amos 1, Isaiah 35, Song of Songs 7, and other passages that reference the Carmel. We also heard the story of 1 Kings 18 about God’s intervention in the life and ministry of Elijah. We could see the story unfold before our eyes!
“Today was a remarkable first full day. We saw Caesarea, Mt. Carmel, the Jezreel Valley, Megiddo, and Nazareth. It is amazing how the Bible has come to life for me in just seeing where these stories took place!”
Following lunch at a Druze restaurant close by, we drove down to the edge of the Jezreel Valley to Megiddo. This is a site that has about 25 levels of occupation spanning about 2,500 years! We first saw a map of the region, followed by a helpful model of this ancient city. Climbing the tel (“ancient mound”), we saw remnants of three ancient gates, the stables of Solomon, the Early Bronze/Canaanite sacrificial altar, and a granary dating to the time of Jeroboam II (8th century). From the top of the tel we saw Mt. Gilboa (1 Samuel 31), the Hill of Moreh (Judges 6-7), and Mt Tabor (Judges 4-5). We also remembered the words of Revelation 16 (“Armegeddon”) and celebrated that God has the future in His control and when Jesus returns, every knee will bow and tongue will confess Christ as Lord! We left the site by descending 180 steps through the water system. What engineers these Israelites must have been!
Precipice of Nazareth
As we drove across the Jezreel Valley, our last site of the day was the precipice of Nazareth. The view of the valley from here offered yet another perspective of the many stories of the Bible that took place here. We read from Luke 4 (Jesus in the synagogue) and John 1 as we celebrated who Jesus is and His redemptive purpose for coming. We also enjoyed a time of reflection as we remembered Philip’s words, “Come and see!”
From here we drove north through Cana (John 2) and the Lower Galilee to our “kibbutz-hotel” on the NW corner of the Sea of Galilee. Following checking in and dinner, we enjoyed a time of sharing down on the water’s edge.
What a great first full day! Praise God for His blessings!