Today we head north. While we may only travel 30 miles north, we travel back 2000 years for CAESAREA, 3000 years for MT. CARMEL, and 4000 years for Megiddo. Are you ready? It just keeps getting better and better.
DAN: This site has so much to offer – from the majestic theatre, the Hippodrome, Herod’s palace (complete with swimming pool), and of course, the Port and picturesque Aqueduct. Grab a rock or two to remind you of all the events which took place here. Two beacons of our faith will come to mind … both Peter and Paul! Peter meets Cornelius and Paul meets before the authorities and leaves for his missionary journeys from this very port.
SHARON: We are walking back 2000 years. We first enter the theater for a time of teaching. We learn about the many events which take place here – some of them would have been very risque. You can actually walk amongst the statues, touching them – they aren’t off limits. Continue to Herod’s pool – an ancient “infinity pool” right on the Med. Continue to the Hippodrome where the brutal chariot races took place, and ending at the Port – truly an architectural wonder.
DAN: The black-and-white words describing the events of 1 Kings 18 (Elijah and the Prophets of Baal) transform into living color as we ascend Carmel and look across the valley of Jezreel from the western side. Can you imagine this event and picture the fire coming down from heaven? On a clear day we can see all the way across the valley to Nazareth to the NE and to the mountains of Gilboa on the SE side!
SHARON: We are now 3000 years back in history. While the story of Elijah and the prophets of Ba’al is familiar to most, we learn things about what would have transpired that are not mentioned in the Bible. For example, it was customary for the prophets of Ba’al to already have fire underneath the altar – their god needed a little help. But our God needs no help! Now, come forward to 2016. As we look from the rooftop of the monastery on Mount Carmel, we can see the runways of the Ramat David Air Force Base. Did you know that from this base it is approximately 5 minutes to Lebanon and 10 minutes to Gaza? And that time is from the moment the siren goes off for the pilots until they reach their destination. What a contrast from the days of Ba’al to modern day – but the proclamation remains today just as it was 3000 years ago: If Adonai is God, follow Him; but if it’s Ba‘al, follow him!”
DAN: Megiddo is located on the southwest corner of the Jezreel Valley and is the primary gateway into what is now known as the Valley of Har Megiddo (Armageddon). Excavations have unearthed 26 layers of ruins. Joshua, David, and Solomon at one time or another were all on this Tel. It was Napoleon who remarked when looking over this valley that Megiddo was the perfect battlefield.
SHARON: Picture a slice taken out of a 26-layered cake and that’s what you see at Megiddo. While not all of the 26 layers can be seen, this Tel is a perfect example of how a city existed, was destroyed, another built on top of it, destroyed … 26 times. One of the lessons you will learn from our extraordinary guide, Jane, is that a city cannot exist without water. We will descend many steps down the water cistern but don’t worry – it’s not quite as many steps coming up.