Israel Study Tour - Friends of Hume

May 18-28, 2014

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The Trade Route of the World

Today started with the biggest surprise of the trip, Beth She’an.  Not the Jewish town where King Saul and Jonathan died in the battle with the Philistines, rather the Greek city that existed at the time of Christ. It has the largest theater found in the Mediterranean, we got to see and “experience” the co-ed bathrooms where people actually sat next to each other and conducted their “business”.  The center of town was much like our towns with wide streets, covered walkways, shops, banks, restaurants, large restrooms, spas, theater, and much more.  So now that we’ve visited Beth She’an really see no reason to visit the ruins of Italy and Greece.

Beth Shean

Located 17 miles (27 km) south of the Sea of Galilee, Beth Shean is situated at the strategic junction of the Harod and Jordan Valleys. The fertility of the land and the abundance of water led the Jewish sages to say, “If the Garden of Eden is in the land of Israel, then its gate is Beth Shean.” It is no surprise then that the site has been almost continuously settled from the Chalcolithic period to the present.

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We left the strategic inland area of Beth She’an and headed down the Valley of Megiddo, the most battle weary valley in the world past Nazareth on our way to Mount Carmel where Elijah challenged the priests of Baal to see whose God is real.  Lunch was in a Druze town followed by a trip to the coast where the Valley of Megiddo meets the Mediterranean Sea at a major seaport names Caesarea.

Caesarea Maritima

The city and harbor were built under Herod the Great during c. 22–10 BC near the site of a former Phoenician naval station known as Stratonos pyrgos (Στράτωνος πύργος).[2] It later became the provincial capital of Roman Judea, Roman Syria Palaestina and Byzantine Palaestina Prima provinces. The city was populated throughout the 1st to 6th centuries CE and became an important early center of Christianity during the Byzantine period, but was mostly abandoned following the Muslim conquest of 640. It was re-fortified by the Crusaders, and finally slighted by the Mamluks in 1265.

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As we reflect and contrast the difference between many of the simple farm towns and the opulence of Beth She’an and Caesarea it reminds me much of our culture…so much has changed and yet so much is the same.  As I’m writing we’re traveling to Jerusalem and to make this visit even more crazy – the Pope is here right now.

Greg Bair

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Hello Meditarannean! #humeisrael14

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Second largest city in Israel? We'll jump for that... #BethShe'an #humeisrael14 #myauntkeepsup #itaughtherwell

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Our entire tour group in Capernaum #humeisrael14

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Chorazin and a typical manger (made out of stone, not wood, wood was very rare in Israel, so most things were made out of stone). The Mount of Beatitudes

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