Thursday, May 19, 2011

Day 1

**UPDATE** Pictures have now been added!

Catchy title don't ya think?

Yeah...I'm good at those.


No pictures yet. I didn't find a camera store and they don't have Walmart here (gasp). I sent a message to my mom to bring one to me tomorrow when she comes, so hopefully she was able to find one. It's hard to write this post without pictures but I will add them when I am able to.

Our first stop today was to Ceasarea where we saw the ruins of the palace of Herod the Great. The apostle Paul was held prisoner there waiting his appeal to Rome. We saw the Roman Amphitheatre there, also where Herod (the 2nd??) was eaten by worms after he declared himself equal to God. It was also there that many Christians were killed in an area where there were games and chariot races. One of the 'games' was to kill Christians. Very sobering to stand there and imagine it. It was right on the Mediterranean Sea (as in: you could throw a rock to it). All three places were together kind of like a campus.
Ruins of the palace in the background, amphitheatre in the foreground

Location of chariot races and killing Christians for sport

Panda poses in the chariot area

Another view of the chariot and 'game' area

I believe this was a cistern, but it was also the same depth as the prison that Paul may have been kept in. Speculation....

Ruins of the portico of the palace overlooking the Mediterranean Sea.

We then went to Mt. Carmel where Elijah challenged King Ahab and the prophets of Baal to prove that God was greater than their gods. Mt. Carmel is actually a 25 mile-long mountain range. They have a tourist stop at the place they think the confrontation actually took place. There is a small church built there and you can walk onto the roof. I think we all caught our breath when we got to the top of the stairs. It had an amazing view of the plain of Megiddo. In the book of Revelation, it's called Armageddon. I'm sure you have heard of the battle that will take place there in the future--where the blood of the slain will be up to the horses bridles. (Rev. 16:16) That is an amazing statement even before you see how HUGE the plain of Mediggo is. It goes farther than the eye can see--and it took four photos to capture each part of it. I don't think even a panorama camera could do the job (unless you were in a plane). It was also there that King Josiah died in a battle. It was at an intersection of a very busy road that has been there for thousands of years, running from Egypt to Messapotamia. We actually drove through the intersection where Josiah was killed. In that same area, King Ahab built an elaborate way to bring water from a spring outside the city into the city so that enemies couldn't keep them away from their water supply. I took some pictures that I hope will do it justice.
Don't be taking your guns in there!

Statue commemorating Elijah's challenge to King Ahab

A small part of the Plain of Megiddo, future site of the battle of Armageddon.

King Ahab's tunnel to the spring that was outside the city walls. We went down, down, down into the tunnel.
Walked for quite a way...

And then back up. The tunnel was built to prevent their enemies from sealing off the spring, since it was located outside the city. After the tunnel was built, the water was re-routed through the tunnel, enabling the city to get water inside the city walls.

We then went to Nazareth. I have always thought it was a flat, dusty place. I had the dusty part right but almost all cities are built on hills. Hills were much safer because they could see their enemies coming from a long distance. There isn't much left to see of the city from Jesus' times but there is a replica of an old Nazareth village. It was very interesting. My favorite part was the synogogue. It was so small. And plain. It was just like the one where Jesus read Isaiah 61 about how he had come to heal the broken hearted, etc. It was a passage about the coming Messiah. After he got done reading it, he laid the scroll down and walked to his seat. Sitting there, it was easy to imagine Him doing that. So amazing. Can't wait to show you the pictures.

The local shepherd

We saw these growing all over Israel

The thistles there were on steroids

Local carpenter

The carpenter's project

Yarn like that in Jesus' day

Torah scroll in the temple

The Temple in Nazareth was small. All temple's were sized by the number of people living in the town. Jesus would have stood to the left side, read the scroll, and then walked over to sit on the stone seats on the right side.

We then drove to Tiberias, which is on the Sea of Galilee. It is so cool to see the place where so many Bible stories happened. Peter and the other disciples who were could look out into the water and imagine them out there in their boats. And then Jesus walking on water... We walked down by the water after dinner. It's really beautiful. I took pictures but it was pretty hazy today so I'm not sure if it will give you a good idea of what we are seeing.
Sea of Galilee at Tiberias

Panda's yummy dinner. He couldn't eat all of it.

Tiberias at night on the shores of Galilee.

Our guide is a Messianic Jew from Russia. He is very knowledgable and we are really enjoying him.

Tomorrow is going to be another amazing day...hopefully I'll be able to post pictures tomorrow night.

Panda is hanging in there even though it's been hot. He didn't have to walk because he rode in my camera bag. He wanted to go swimming but I said no. He has been pretty amazed by all things we have seen today.


Mrs C said...

WOW! so excited to be following your journey, megga jealous you're there though!! what a cool account you just gave, looking forward to photos. enjoy tomorrow, I will eagerly await your update :)

Kristin Ferguson said...

I've always wanted to tour the Holy Land so I'm living vicariously through you right now! Can't wait to see the pictures!!!

Get some rest when you can! Are you over your jet lag yet? Do they have a Starbucks?

Angie said...

Sounds amazing. Someday I would love to see it. Our friends went a few years ago and were told not to use the words "missionary" or "Jesus" out of respect of the Jewish people there. Have you heard the same?

Adeye said...

So, so, so amazing! I would LOVE to go someday.

Post pics soon.

So happy you have this amazing opportunity. make the most of every minute.

James, Dawn and Family said...


Kim K. said...

Your trip sounds amazing. I'm so glad you still went despite all the setbacks.