Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Blog 3 On our way to Galilee...:O)

Boker tov! (Good morning in Hebrew)

Don’t ask about sleeping, we did sleep, but it is not like being home. Still, our being here in Israel feels like being ‘home.’ I can’t explain that statement, but it is true. Maybe you can join us on our next pilgrimage and discover this truth for yourself.

Jet lag is a very real thing. Some of us woke up way to early (around 3:00AM) and found it difficult to fall back to sleep. Others awoke looking for “that truck” that ran over us, But, WE ARE IN ISRAEL! Life is good.

We stayed on the shore of the Mediterranean Sea. The view was just wonderful!
What an exciting day (I imagine I will use that word repetitively). We started with a visit to Caesarea Maritime. What a remarkable place this is. It was there that the Gospel was first preached to the Gentile by Peter. What a mighty and merciful God we serve. We saw the remains of King Herod’s palace by the sea and a hippodrome where they had chariot races and gladiators actually fought. Debbie and I had the privilege to sing a song from the stage of the amphitheater. How cool is that?
We then went to Mt. Carmel which means ‘vineyard of God’ via a view of an ancient Roman aqueduct remains that ran from Mt. Carmel to Caesarea.

It is my humble opinion that what Elijah did in calling Israel to repent and to decide on who the one true God is, is something that America would benefit from. Would to God that He would raise up a man of God with the power of Elijah and call our nation to repentance.

From the top of Mt. Carmel we had a wonderful view of the Valley Jezreel. As I mentioned in an earlier blog, this is the battle field of the most famous battle to be fought, Armageddon. From where I stood, the Mediterranean Sea was behind me, Nazareth lays to my left, Mt. Tabor is directly ahead, Mt. Gilboa is to my right, and so is Tel Megiddo. The word ‘tel’ means a man made mound. We will visit Tel Megiddo later today.

Tel Megiddo was remarkable. Each time I visit here I am somewhat amazed at the views this mound offers. It is just a beautiful panoramic view of the Valley Esdraelon, the same as Jezreel. The greatest generals in history have said this is the greatest battle field in the world. While at Megiddo we saw a manager that had been cut from limestone in the shape that may have cradled baby Jesus on the very night the virgin Mary gave birth to God’s only begotten Son.

From Megiddo, we traveled to Nazareth where we stopped at what is known as “the precipice.” It was there the townsmen attempted to cast Jesus over the “brow of the city” to His death because He had claimed to be the Messiah…which we know He was.

Next, we visited the village of Nazareth. As you know, Nazareth was the little mountain town Jesus grew up in. It is located in the lower Galilee area and it seems it did not have a very good reputation in the days of Jesus. Remember what John records in chapter one? (John chapter one makes for good reading don’t you think?)

Here we took a step back in time. This village was created to help its visitors get a feel of what Jesus’ hometown looked like when He lived there and worked in the carpenter shop of his step-father Joseph. (Isn’t God something? He had a Joseph in Jesus’ life at both His birth and at His burial.) The characters there dressed in first century attire. After seeing a wine press, olive trees, terraced land, donkeys, a carpenter shop, a humble home, and a synagogue we were given a small clay lamb similar to one Jesus would have used at His home in Nazareth. What a wonderful experience.  (By the way, who would you rather have as a Shepherd?  See the picture to the above right?  The gentleman to my right was a character at the Nazareth Village.  His sheep is just behind him...come to think of it, isn't that where a shepherd is supposed to be?)

Our next stop was Tiberias where we are to spend our next three nights. On our way, we drove through Cana where, according to John 2, Jesus performed His first miracle. Learning here comes on so many levels it is hard to explain. At one moment we are rejoicing and praising the Lord and the next minute we are so overwhelmed we are weeping. We all knew before we came that the Bible is alive, but today we are in the land where the Bible lives! Wonderful!!!

(Wish all of you were here with us!)

Cana, the place, according to John, is the place Jesus performed His first miracle. Many commentators I have read after and preachers I have heard preach, seem to make Jesus be always frowning. I know what Isaiah said in chapter 53, but doesn’t that deal with Him and His cross experience? Would Jesus get many wedding invitations if He never manifested any joy? I imagine that He had a wonderful smile and that His laughter was nothing less than infectious. Remember, it is His book that says “A merry doeth good like a medicine.”

Now it is on to our hotel on the Sea of Galilee, Ron Beach Hotel dinner, our nightly meeting for those who choose to come, and bed. Let me say that again, bed. And by the way, we had our evening meeting right on the shore of the Sea of Galilee.

Anxious anticipation about our next day in the land of Israel is almost too much. But, I imagine we will all do our best under this kind of pressure, :O).

Keep praying for us…until next time.

Tom/Deb and all the rest