Before I start my post I need to give you a sense of our schedule. We are up at 6 AM, we have an amazing, but intense schedule. We return exhausted, have dinner at 7 PM and then it is time to blog.
My intention for these next 9 days or so is to share as much as I can of our trip, but if I miss a day or two, please forgive me.
Our first stop this morning was the seaside port of Caesarea (not Caesarea Phillippi, an inland city we will see later in the week). In my research I had really written this stop off as pretty unimportant, but it turned out to be my favorite stop of the day.
Herod the Great was the creator of this deep water port on the edge of the Mediterranean Sea. It’s worth a good research project to understand how it affected the trade routes at the time, because it was pretty important. In addition to creating a major deep water port where one did not previously exist, Herod built a massive palace for himself and had the Roman army (in their down time) construct over ten miles of aqua ducts to funnel fresh water from the western part of Israel into this port town for his palace. The remnants of his swimming pool and palace floors can still be seen at the site.
For Christians, Caeserea was important because Paul was held prisoner here. His prison experience here and his ultimate release to Rome (Acts 23-27) played a pivotal role in the spread of Christianity to the Gentiles.
Our second stop was Megiddo, the Greek word for Armageddon. In Revelation, John prophecies that the “gathering” will happen here in the end times. (Rev. 16:16). But Megiddo – a “tell” (look that one up), has been in existence since the 6th century BC. According to our guide, the city (tell) was destroyed and rebuilt 26 times. Rebuild #15 involved a rebuilding by King Solomon (to give you a real sense of how old this place is). Because of the strategic position of Megiddo between Europe and Africa and Asia, Solomon (and many other world leaders) have used this place as a vital position to control trade. It was also positioned high on the hill above the Valley of Jezreel which made it a great spot to defend. There are some great layers of amazing ruins that went down thousands of years. The oldest church in Israel has also been found on this site. See that one here. I also found it interesting that the Israeli Air Force had a base quite close to Megiddo. Quite a smart move on their part, in my humble opinion.
Our last two sites — Nazareth and Mt. Arbel, were great sites, but quick views. Nazareth was a quick stop at the Church of the Annunciation which was built on the site where 3rd century leaders believed the home of Mary and Joesph existed. We got a small view of what their grotto looked like as well as some other 3rd century ruins.
Mt. Arbel offered beautiful views over the entire Galilee region. My husband got much better pictures than I did! Hopefully we can share some of those soon. I hope you can see the pics that correspond with this blog on Instagram and Facebook.