Sorry for the delay in getting Day 2’s blog out. When we got to the ‘kibbutz’ (hotels that are run by communities of local Jews who began settling in Israel when it became a state in 1948) at the Sea of Galilee, they informed us that they had no internet. So I will be posting two days worth this.
We begin touring each day at 8:00. We began Day 2 with a trip to Caesarea. Caesarea was established by King Herod the Great, the king of Judea, who received the title, the Great, not because of his popularity but rather by the fact that he was such an amazing builder. He always had building projects going on, so much so that when he was alive, many of the people in Judea were employed on one or another of Herod’s construction projects. Caesarea was his vacation home of sorts, and sat right on the Mediterranean sea. The setting was magnificent it was not difficult to imagine what it must have been like in that time. Though there are only ruins left, there are enough to get a visual of what it must have looked like.
We started with a bible study in a restored theater, where Paul would have made his appeal before King
Agrippa (Acts 26). After touring Caesarea, including a hippodrome (where they would hold chariot races, gladiator fights and sadly enough the brutal killing of Christians), we headed off to look at a Roman aqueduct, which Herod built in order to get fresh water from Mt. Carmel to Caesarea. It seems that he wanted a fresh water swimming pool (see picture upper left). The aqueduct was 8 miles long with a variance of only eight inches from Mr. Carmel to Caesarea, all that was needed to flow eight miles.
Mt. Carmel is the place where Elijah slew the 450 prophets of Baal (1 Kings 18). There is nothing overly spectacular about Mt. Carmel, other than the fact that you know that you are on the mountain where it all took place. However, what is so very spectacular to me is the view of the Valley of Armageddon, where the final battle against good and evil will take place. It was Napoleon Bonaparte who said, upon seeing it, said that he had never seen a finer location for a battle than this valley. It is also known as the ‘Jezreel Valley’ or the ‘Valley of Esdraelon’. I had the opportunity to do a study on 1 Kings 18, with an emphasis on the danger of ‘faltering between two opinions’. Just like Elijah is was a ‘troubler of Israel’, so we will be troublers of those who are hostile towards God. Darkness hates the light.
Upon leaving Mt. Carmel, we headed to the ancient city of Megiddo. Actually, there have been some 25 cities that have been built there, one upon the other. Each one built, destroyed, another built, another destroyed and so on for thousands of years. Some of the ruins which we saw dated back to the times of Abraham. We saw ruins of Solomon’s stables, where he would keep some 450 horses. Horses were incredibly expensive in that day and 450 would have been a large number. Perhaps the most startling thing we saw was a ‘high place’ where the Canaanites would have sacrificed there. We concluded our time at Megiddo with walking down over 100 feet to a sistern that held the water for the city.
As the day concluded, we headed back to the Sea of Galilee, driving through Nazareth, which is now a modern city, and Cana, where Jesus performed his first miracle. We were all thankful for our guide, who was able to point out parts of the original city of Nazareth.