Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Up To Jerusalem

We exited the Galilee this morning and headed west.  First stop: the home town of Jesus, Nazareth.  A small Jewish village in Jesus' day, it is now a sprawling Arab town of thousands.  We made our way through the old market area to the first century synagogue.  Randy read the account from Luke 4 about Jesus reading from Isaiah 61.  Jesus told them that non-Jews were responding but they were not and they tried to stone Him.  We saw the precipice where they took Him as we left town and headed for Megiddo.

   This ancient city with 25 distinct layers of civilization stands at the crossroads of the Via Maris and the King's Highway.  Two very distinctive parts of this city are the horse stables with rock mangers and the water system.  Probably under King Ahab, they disguised the spring at the edge of the hill and dug through solid bedrock in from the edge and straight down in the center of the city.  It was 183 steps down and probably another 80 back up to walk along this water system.  Another impressive thing from Megiddo is the ability to look across the Jezreel Valley to see Mt. Tabor, site of Barak's defeat of Sisera;  the area in the valley where Allenby's defeated the Turks in the First World War; and the location of the final battle of all time here at Har Megiddo or Armageddon.

Now we crossed over and climbed Mt. Carmel.  Elijah's defeat of the prophets of Baal here and the coming of rain after 3 years are both a big deal.  We viewed the whole Jezreel Valley from here, from Mt. Tabor to Afula; from the area of the village of Nain, to the Mediterranean Sea.  It was amazing.

We then descended to sea level once again to visit the port of Caesarea.  Built by Herod this magnificent city was once a jewel on the Mediterranean.  We view a film that showed its history from Herod until today.  We then walked the length of the city from the theater to the crusader fortress.  It was impressive.  We also stopped in front of the aqueduct that brought water from springs in the Carmel range several miles away.

One of the more moving events of the day was coming up into Jerusalem as the song "The Holy City" was playing and we sang along.  It is good to be home in Jerusalem.  Tomorrow we begin to explore its wonders.

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