Israel Study Trip

Day 8: Nazareth Village, Megiddo, Mount Carmel, Caesarea Maritima

Sunrise over Galilee

We left the shores of beautiful Galilee this morning with our bags packed, ready to make several stops on our way to Jerusalem.
Our first stop was Nazareth Village.
At the time of Jesus’ birth, Nazareth was so small it wasn’t even listed as a city of Galilee in many records. Around 400 people lived there. “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Today over 80,000 people call it home.

Nazareth Village and Modern Nazareth

Nazareth Village was the only open field left in the city limits and was owned by a Catholic hospital who was thinking of possibly turning it into a parking lot, if I have the story right. They were happy to give it to a Christian group who had a vision to create a living history museum so travelers could see for themselves how people lived in the time of Christ. When they acquired the land they were surprised to uncover the only ancient wine press that has been found in the entire city and a tomb right next to it. The tomb was a rich man’s tomb, carved out of rock with a stone over the opening, similar to the one our Lord was buried in. It was as if God had been preserving that plot of ground for the right era and for the right vision.

We watched a weaver, and olive press in action, a potter, and a re-enactment of Jesus reading from the scroll in Isaiah in the synagogue. It was a very worthy stop and enjoyed by all.

Postcards showing Village life

Next we toured Megiddo. There we saw a tel with 35 layers of civilization. This is where our guide, Andrew, had worked on a dig earlier this year. It was fascinating to see this large tel where so many people from different times had lived on top of another. Solomon had stables here. Being in a direct path between Africa and Asia made it a trade stop and a battleground many times over the years. The Jezreel Valley is located in this spot and the Battle of Armageddon will be fought here someday.

Next we had a great view of the land from Mt Carmel, remembering when Elijah had prayed to the living God, and He sent fire down from heaven, consuming the altar and the sacrifices before the prophets of Baal. So thankful that Elijah’s God still lives today!

Caesarea-by-the-Sea is a favorite stop of mine. Catching it in the golden hour is breathtaking. The large stone theater, the aqueduct, and remains of Herod’s palace and temple are incredible sights, the Mediterranean Sea making a spectacular backdrop to it all. Yet the kingdom that was once so glorious is gone and it’s remains are slowly but surely turning to rubble, while the kingdom that lives in our hearts grows larger as the centuries move on. Peter converted the first Gentile, Cornelius, and Paul was imprisoned in this place.

Then it was time for a two hour drive to Jerusalem, the city of David. We found our hotel and had supper. We look forward to tomorrow, when we get to discover new sights and watch the Sabbath begin.