Israel Blog Day 2
Thank the Lord for good sleep! We stayed our first night, in a hotel near the Mediterranean, in Haifa. Breakfast was provided and was an array of cucumber salads, fish, different yogurts and cheeses, eggs, and other options. The breakfast was very good, and it wasn’t long before we were on the road, again. Our first stop on the day, was to visit a coastal city called Acre (pronounced “Akko”). We stopped at a structure that was used as a prison during the 1900’s. In 1948, during a failed prison break attempt (profiled in the 1960 film, “Exodus”, with Paul Newman), the escaping prisoners dug through a floor and discovered that it opened up into a large chasm. To make a long story short, the prison had been built upon a site that contained ruins from the Turkish Ottoman Empire. After closing the prison, the site was excavated and is now maintained as a historical tour site. The buildings that were unearthed were quite impressive, in their architecture and fortification.
The next stop on the day was to “Megiddo”. Megiddo is a hill, so it is sometimes referred to as “Tel Megiddo”. It has a tremendously varied history. Megiddo has been built upon some 25 times, throughout its 4,000 year history. Great names from Biblical history have been associated with Megiddo, including King David, King Josiah (he died here), and the wicked King Ahab. King Ahab, in fact, built Megiddo up to be a fortified palace, with two horse stables containing up to 450 horses, and a unique water system that allowed him to get water in, even when the city was shut up during a time of battle. Megiddo shares an important place in Biblical History, but also Biblical future, as it is referenced in the book of Revelation as the place of the final battle, “Armageddon”.
After our visit to Megiddo, which was very interesting, we went to Nazareth and stopped at two unique locations. One was a trip to the hill that angry and offended religious leaders took Jesus up, ready to throw him off of for blasphemy. If you recall the narrative in the Gospels where Jesus entered the temple, took the Scroll and read out of Isaiah, you’ll recognize the story. Thankfully, as the scripture states, “Jesus walked right through them” that day, and wasn’t thrown off the cliff! (Luke 4:14-30)
To finish the day’s activities, we went in Nazareth to a spot called “Nazareth Village”. The Village is set up as a 1-hour tour that takes you through different stops of replicated, 1st-century life. You get to see a winepress, an olive press, 400-year-old olive trees, and even a small pen with sheep and shepherds. Quite a fascinating make-up, that was well worth the time. It really brings home some of the ways of life that 1st-century inhabitants experienced and lived out.
Our hotel tonight is called the “Leonardo”, and is set on the Sea of Galilee, the same location that Jesus walked on the water, and bid Peter to come to him. We will spend some time in this area, a location that Jesus frequented. The entire tour group has been great company, and loads of fun to be with. All of us are thankful for the opportunity to see and walk where Jesus did, and to draw closer to Him through it all.