We started off yesterday by leaving the Sea of Galilee. I absolutely loved the Sea of Galilee. The "Sea" or lake, was really beautiful and the land around it was beautiful too. Although I was saddened to leave the Sea of Galilee, I was also excited to embark on the final leg of our journey, Jerusalem! However, before we went to Jerusalem, we made a few pit stops.
Megiddo is most popular for its mention in Revelation. Some Eschatologists believe that it and the valley around it is the place where the final battle will happen. It is also one of the largest Tel's (A hill made up of the ruins of an ancient city) in Israel. One of the things that stood out to me was the amount of work it took to get water in and out of the city.
The next place we went to was Mt. Carmel. We were able to visualize the spot where God lit Elijah's alter on fire. The final pit stop before Jerusalem was Cesarea. Still a partially functional city, Cesarea was the biggest harbor in the world in the Roman times. Herod had a palace there, a hippodrome (stadium for horse and chariot races) and a theater. The theater is still in use today! A couple of the girls from the other group sang a worship song in the theater and the acoustics there were really great. The Romans surely knew how to build! It was amazing to see how much they were capable of without all of the technology that we have now.
Entering Jerusalem was awesome. I felt like this is what we had been waiting for this whole trip. The capital city has about 800,000 people and is a modern city, much different that what we have been used to, with the possible exception of Tel Aviv. There was also a Jewish wedding going on outside our hotel balcony which was interesting to watch! With a good nights sleep, we were ready to explore Jerusalem in the morning!
Today we went to Hezekiah's tunnel in the morning. Just like Megiddo, this tunnel was the main waterway in and out of Jerusalem in the ancient city. Measuring 500 yards, this water filled tunnel was awesome to walk through. Even though it was tight at times, it highlighted the magnitude to which the ancients advanced their arts of defense and infrastructure. We then went to Herodium, a getaway for King Herod. This place, in the middle of the wilderness and desert, had it's own pool to have boat races, it's own palace on a hill and was very defensible. It made me think about how selfish we can become and that we can want so much that we don't need.
Lastly today we went to Bethlehem and to the Church of the Nativity. The Church of the Nativity was built over the cave where Jesus was born. Bethlehem is in the Palestinian territory which was only the second time we made our way down there. Our tour guides weren't allowed to go with us for this part because they are Israeli citizens. This gave me motivation to research more what is actually happening in the region and to keep up with current events.
I have been learning lots and I am excited to continue reading my Bible and be able to visualize all of the places that we have been. We have learned so much and these few days have gone by so fast! It's hard to believe that we actually leave in a couple days. Tomorrow we will be going to the Temple Mount, Western Wall, Southern Steps, and all around the Old City. Please be praying for us as this will be an eye opening day and one of the most serious days that we will have here. Thank you for your continuous prayers and support while we have been here. See you all soon!
Written by: Tyler Brotton