Saturday, February 14, 2015

Following The Via Maris

We didn't allow the chilly rain that greeted us in the morning to dampen our spirits as we departed the Island Hotel and followed the Via Maris (the way of the Sea).  We visited the theater in Caesarea,  the seaport that Herod built and place of his summer palace.  It was in Caesarea where Peter came from Jaffa to share the Good News with Cornelius and those he gathered together.  It was here that Paul gave his defense before Felix, Festus and King Agrippa before being taken to Rome.  Paul also used this as his port for sailing to or from his missionary journeys.  Philip the Evangelist, one of the deacons, lived here. We drove to view the aqueduct that Herod built to bring water to his city.

We then made our way up the Carmel Range of mountains to Mukraqa, or Mt. Carmel.  This is the traditional location where it is believed that Elijah challenged the 450 prophets of Baal.  We got our first limited view of the Jezreel Valley or the Valley of Har Megiddo or Armageddon.  Following our lunch at a Druze Restaurant, we climbed the tel at Megiddo.  This chariot city stood guard over the northern part of the Via Maris.  Any invading army had to come past Megiddo.  At least 32 major battles have been fought in this valley throughout history and the last great battle of history will also be fought here according to the Revelation.

The last part of the day was spent in Jesus' hometown of Nazareth.  We stood at the top of the Precipice where they wanted to throw Him to His death for blasphemy.  We toured Nazareth Village, a recreation of First Century Nazareth, complete with a shepherd, weaver, carpenter, watchtower, olive press and synagogue.  And we walked the old streets past the Roman Catholic Church of the Annunciation to the Synagogue where Jesus read the words from Isaiah 61 and then told them the prophecy had been fulfilled in their hearing.

The team did well but all were glad when we arrived at the Scots Hotel in Tiberius, our home for the next couple days.  

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