We started Valentine's Day way earlier than our friends back in the USA and we are LOVING it. Today was a travel day as we sadly left the peaceful shores of Galilee. Today was a rough day for weather. Cold winds and rain made for difficult travel.
Our first stop was Nazareth where we headed up to the top of Mt. Precipice. It was a beautiful view but bitterly cold. Matt began a great teaching about Jesus' claims to be God but then people just started walking out because they were too cold. Matt wisely chose to have us finish his talk in the bus.
Megiddo was the next stop and the cold rain was not giving us a break at all. We rushed through this incredible site and had a brief teaching inside the water system because that was underground. We saw authentic mangers made of stone, not wood. We looked out upon the valley and tried to imagine what will happen one day in this area.
From the earliest times (EB) to the earliest historical records of the area (Thutmose III) to the future (Revelation 16), Megiddo assumes a prominent role. This is largely owing to its strategic location astride the Megiddo Pass (Wadi Ara) and inside the busy Jezreel Valley.
Mount Carmel continued the tour of freezing cold Israel, but the weather let up enough to allow us to head out to our favorite spot for teaching while looking out from the top of this mountain where Elijah challenged the prophets of Baal and God gave him a great victory bringing fire down from heaven.
Biblically, Mt. Carmel is referenced most often as a symbol of beauty and fertility. To be given the “splendor of Carmel” was to be blessed indeed (Isa 35:2). Solomon praised his beloved: “your head crowns you like Mount Carmel” (Song 7:5). But for Carmel to wither was a sign of devastating judgment (Nahum 1:4).
After falafels for lunch, we headed down to beautiful Caesarea by the Sea. It's mind blowing to consider the 2,000 year old aqueduct that still stands right next to the sea shore. When we arrived at the main part of the site it was still raining hard so we watched the little movie that they provide in a small indoor theater and then Eric did our teaching from the book of Acts in this spot. Caesarea is a major player in Acts with the story of Cornelius and Peter in Acts 10, King Herod Agrippa I's death in Acts 12 and then finally with Paul's imprisonment and defense of the gospel in Acts 23-26. Paul's boldness and ability to turn any crisis into opportunity was inspiring for us all. Thankfully, after the teaching the sun was bright and shining and people were able to explore the impressive site.
Finally, we made the ascent into Jerusalem and had a small peek at the Old City from Mt. Scopus before checking into our new, beautiful hotel.
We all are going to dress a bit warmer for tomorrow here in the chilly Judah Mountains.
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). 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.
Featured Signature Tour
Sep 3-14, 2023
Experience Israel for 11 days in the context of biblical history and personal faith.