After breakfast, we started out our day going to Caesarea Maritima (Acts 10). This city was built by Herod the Great in 21 BC and was one of the grandest cities in Israel. It was built much like a Roman city and included a palace, an arena for chariot races and theatres. This is also where Pontius Pilate ruled during the time of Jesus. Peter spoke here and is where Gentiles were first able to be baptised without becoming Jewish first. This is very significant for us because we are from Gentile lineage. Paul also used the port here during many of his travels. In Act 22:12-26:32, Caesarea is Paul was imprisoned. Archeologists found in a lower room (dungeon) inscriptions with Paul’s name.
We passed by a rolling stone tomb on our way to Mt. Carmel. I was able to get a great picture of it. We couldn’t stop because it was on the highway and even here it is frowned upon to just stop in the middle of the road! Mt. Carmel means God’s Vineyard and is where Elijah defeated the Prophets of Baal (1 Kings 18). This is a great story and was amazing to be where it actually happened. We learned many things about why this took place on Mt. Carmel. For people to inhabit an area they must be able to grow three things – olives for oil, grapes for wine, and wheat or barley. It is a very rocky area so wheat and barley would not grow. This left the area uninhabited and not claimed by anyone. This made it neutral land for Elijah and the Prophets of Baal to have a contest for who the one true God was. Read the story, it’s pretty amazing! (Spoiler alert: WE WIN!!) From Mt. Carmel you have an amazing view of the Valley of Jezreel.
Next up was the Tel Megiddo, an amazing and fascinating place. It is the ancient city used by Kings Solomon & Ahab and overlooks the Jezreel Valley. A Tel means mound. It didn’t start off as a mound, but the city was destroyed and rebuilt so many times by different people over many years. There are 25 layers of city’s here! So very amazing!
Our last stop of the day was to Nazareth. We stopped at the Church of the Annunciation and Mount of Precipice (Luke 4). Nazareth is a large city now, but back in the day when Mary lived there, it was very small – only about 12-14 families. It is only 35% Christian and the rest is Muslim. There are a lot of banners and signs that quote the Koran and how they claim to be the one true religion. Imagine living in a city where you would see that everyday! Anyhow, Nazareth is the childhood home of Jesus and where Mary was told by Gabriel that she would give birth to the savior. The grotto that is believed to be Mary’s home when she was told this is inside the Church of the Annunciation. We then went to the Mount of the Precipice.
Everything is so overwhelming! We do a lot in one day, but if we spent more time at each place we would not get to see as many things. One thing is for sure, I will never read the Bible the same way again! I will have time when I get home to reflect on all these places and be able to picture them in my mind, so I’m glad we are going kind of fast to see everything we can!
So much more I could tell you, but it’s time for bed! This is our last night in Tiberias. Tomorrow we will be staying in Jerusalem and will stay there the rest of the trip. Pictures are posted on Facebook. I tried to label most but I know sometimes it is hard to know what you are looking at without the story behind it.
Until tomorrow. . .