DAY 10 – WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 22: MT. CARMEL, CAESAREA, SHILOH, PERATH & QELT DESERTS, JERUSALEM (& OPTIONAL WALK TO WESTERN WALL)
This morning we left the Galilee area. At the end of the day we would arrive in the capital of Israel, Jerusalem! The weather was once again rainy, with some breaks. High temps were in the 60s.
We left the hotel shortly after 7:15 and drove to Mt. Carmel. We past through the Jezreel Valley en route to this 13 mile mountain range. The elevation is around 1,500 feet above sea level. Once we arrived to the top called Muhraqa, hiked along a short path to a view of the valley below. The morning fog limited our view however (the pictures included in this gallery are from last January’s trip). We read from 1 Kings 18 about Elijah bold stand here. God displayed His awesome power in intervening on this prophet’s behalf. Carmel is also mentioned elsewhere in the Bible (2 Kings 4; Amos 1:2, 9:3; Isaiah 33:9, 35:2; Jer. 50:19).
“It’s hard to imagine telling anyone about this trip because we’ve visited so many sites that connect us to the Bible. And we’re not even in Jerusalem yet! The trip has been life-changing so far!” -Tour Member-
Our next visit was Caesarea Maritima. Located along the Mediterranean Sea in the Sharon Plain, this was a city built by Herod the Great. The project took 12 yeas (22-10 BC). Starting with a brief movie and then moving to the theater, we read all the Biblical connections with this Roman city (Acts 9, 10, 12, 21, 26). Peter, Philip, and Paul were all here proclaiming Jesus boldly! At the site we also saw the hippodrome (horse stadium) and the palace (with a fresh-water swimming pool even!). We also saw the Crusader part of the city as well and the location of the grand harbor Herod built. The porphyry statue was also quite impressive. Before leaving the site we saw the aqueduct that brought water into the city from the Carmel Range.
In the afternoon we drove up into the Hill Country of Ephraim/Samaria. We past by biblical cities (e.g. Samaria, Shechem) on our way to Shiloh. This was a Canaanite city before it was used in the time of the Judges as the location of the Tabernacle. It stood here for about 305 years (the Talmud says 367) until the Philistines destroyed it (1 Samuel 4). After climbing the tel and watching the movie, we saw some of the walls and structures of the city that date to the time of the Israelites. We read from 1 Samuel 3 (about the call of Samuel here) and Jeremiah 7.
Judean Desert -The Perath & Wadi Qelt
We drove southward from Shiloh. We close to places like Bethel (Gen. 12, 28), Ai (Joshua 7-8), and Mishmash (1 Samuel 13-14). We then descended down to the bottom of the Perath Desert (Jer. 13). We saw a few gazelles along the way. We then arrived at the overlook to the Wadi Qelt. Here in the heart of the Judean Desert we heard the words of the prophet Isaiah (from Is. 40). Shlomo also sang Psalm 23 in Hebrew for us. What a great way to end the day!
We drove to Jerusalem from here and checked into our hotel. Following dinner we enjoyed an optional walk to the famous Western Wall. We are looking forward to spending three full days here in Jerusalem!
DAY 11 – THURSDAY, JANUARY 23: JERUSALEM, HERODIUM, BETHLEHEM
(Note: Due to many leaders of the world gathering at Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust Museum, for the 75th anniversary of Auschwitz, our program the next three days has been changed around).