Day One. Or Something….

The itinerary says this is Day 3 but it’s Day One of coherency for me so I’m calling it Day One.

Hello, my long lost friend. Let's. not separate like that again.

Hello, my long lost friend. Let’s not separate like that again.

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Ceaserea

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Lloyd and Opal sitting on stones which would have been there in Jesus’ time.

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Theater built at Ceaserea by King Herod

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Wayne and Carolyn at Mt. Carmel

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Ignore D & S weirdly in the mirror but check out our delicious lunch. All this and more to put on our yummy Falefel and Pita Bread.

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Ditto. At least this time I hid a little.

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Megiddo. Okay you guys. These stones in the green circle are part of an actual wall built during King Solomon’s reign. Is that cool or what?

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Looking out over the Valley of Armageddon

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This was super interesting to see….the shaft leading down to the tunnel used to get water into the city of Megiddo during siege.

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Steps leading to the spring that fed the tunnel.

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Just Wow. Arab section of town.

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Afternoon snack of pomegranate juice.

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Many countries have donated mosaic artwork to the Church of Enunciation. Of course China’s is my very favorite. It’s a picture of Mary and Baby Jesus depicted as Asian. It really was one of the sweetest… some are very strange and seem inappropriate.

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The place where the Catholics believe the Angel Gabriel met Mary.

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A woman worshiping at one of the Catholic Churches we visited.

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Man in blue is our guide. I need to figure out how to spell his name.

IMG_4851IMG_4855IMG_4854Ceaserea ~ build under the direction of King Herod, this port city is mentioned several times in the book of Acts. We know that Peter’s first gentile convert lived here, Paul was imprisoned here when he appealed to Ceaser, and, according to history, Pilate lived here before moving to Jerusalem.  We see ruins from Herods palace which he built right on the edge of the  Mediterranean Sea, using Sea water for his pool in the center of his home. Remains of the harbor can be seen, along with an amphitheater and a place where they raced horses and chariots (I can’t remember the name and don’t have the energy to look up 😉 ). The  port is the most interesting thing to me. Seeing how they built it and were able to check each ship before it was let into the harbor.

Mt Carmel ~ It’s foggy today so our view of Elijah’s sprint tracks down the mountain isn’t good but we see enough to understand a few things. He wouldn’t have had to go searching for his 12 stones…stones are everywhere! In fact, I’m beginning to think this entire country is built of stone. I’ve never seen so many in one place. How easy it would have been to stone someone and no wonder Jesus often referred to stones in his teachings. We look out and see the Mediterranean Sea, over which Elijan’s servant saw the cloud. It’s not hard to imagine 400 prophets of Baal up here along with “all Israel ” who were gathered by King Arab to watch what turned out to be a mighty display of God’s power. It’s a big place…plenty of room up here for all. On a clear day, one can see the Jezreel Valley, the hills of Nazareth in the distance. To the west is the Sea, to the north is Lebanon. As a side note, Lloyd tells us that the last time Lebanon shot a rocket into Israel, Israel destroyed their launcher in 32 seconds.

Megiddo ~ Ahhh…too much to write. 3500 years old with 26-27 layers of civilization, this tell has visible stones that date back to King Solomon’s day. King David built the 16th layer and in the 4th century BC, Megiddo was abandoned and never rebuilt. According to our guide, excavators sometimes find coins which help them date the layers as they uncover them. Definitely tops at this place is the amazing tunnel which runs under the city wall. It leads to a hidden spring outside the city and was used to supply water to the people when Megiddo was under siege. We walk down several fights of stairs, through the tunnel and arrive at the spring. I wonder how in the world men chip-chopped away at this rock with hand tools. Carolyn accidentally drops her notebook into the spring and Brad heroically rescues it by climbing under the barricade, hanging by his toes on the rock wall and risking his life reaching down into the fridgid water. Okay, I made that part up. But he *did* climb under the barricade and reach. 🙂

Nazareth ~  Catholic Churches…enormous, ornate, interesting, and thought provoking. One thing which seems authentic and is worth noting are the caves beneath one of the churches. These probably date back to Jesus’ day and would have been houses where families lived. We will see more of Nazareth tomorrow.

We arrive at our motel at 4:30 and welcome a long evening. Supper is….I don’t even have enough words for the food here. I had heard it would be “lots of salad and bread” but  it’s way more than that. Both nights have been a buffet of 10 or 20 various salads along with yummy meat, desserts, and breads. Caviar for breakfast. And best of all, NO dairy for lunch or supper. Dwayne is on a dairy free diet right now and this food is a dream. I quizzed a Jewish guest in the motel tonight because I didn’t trust the cook. All those creamy desserts? How could they be non-dairy? The lady assured me they were and said the Rabbi comes to check the hotel kitchen regularly. No dairy may be served in the same meal as meat because “you shall not boil a young goat in its mother’s milk” Deut 14:21.  So no meat for breakfast, no dairy for lunch and dinner. Molly went to the lobby after dinner tonight to get coffee and they wouldn’t let her bring it back to the dining room because she had put cream in it. I’ve got to get their recipes for dairy free flan, cream puffs, and cheesecake. It’s all scrumptious!

So much more could be said…the aquaduct, the Via Maris, Mt Tabor.  So many of the happenings in the Bible, both Old Testament and New, occured right here in this tiny little country. There’s way too much to write and I’m beginning to see why most visitors want to come more than once. Although so far, I haven’t had that “this could be my home” feeling that I’ve heard others talk about. Maybe in Jerusalem.

Goodnight!

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