Israel Journey: Part 3

In college, I had a Roman History class and a class on the Apostle Paul. I also am a fan of the film and book Ben-Hur. (The old Ben-Hur with Charleston Heston.) This particular day hit all of those things. I was just thrilled to be walking through history!!! This was stuff I had studied and seen pictures in books. I could not believe I was there!


Jan 14 8:14 am

We are on the bus heading toward the Mediterranean and Caesarea by the sea. Hannah is telling us all about the history of the land. Most of the vegetation I’ve been seeing is young. 100 years ago this land was not green. Even as late as Mark Twain this land was not watered and was barren. After the Zionists, all that changed. They bought land and started making is profitable and fertile. This land has been through several wars to become what it is today. There is so much history here.

I have traveled across the US and while there is history it is not as much. This land has changed hands and has been through so many rulers and nations it is just overwhelming.

I am seeing green fertile fields, beautiful flourishing trees, and a thriving population. There are hills with cities on the top. It brings a whole new meaning to a city set on a hill. Here in this land, a city on a hill is easy to see. In America, it is not so. We have too many trees to see any city on a hill.

I have also come to a better realization that every name in the Bible has some kind of meaning. Each syllable means something. It is not like English that one word has one meaning. I wonder if Hebrew is something I could learn. It would be so helpful in my Bible study and if I ever came back over here. There is so much more to the Bible than I can ever begin to comprehend. I don’t know the language but just knowing the geography has opened so much to my understanding.

10:59am

We just stepped back on the bus. This morning has been completely amazing. It has totally blown my mind.

The first stop we made was a Roman aqueduct. It was built on the beach next to the Meditrainian Sea. I could see about half a mile of it that was excavated. The aqueducts were something I have studied in high school and college and now I got to see and touch them! It was just mind blowing. I got to put my feet in the Mediterranean see. I was so happy that I am wearing my Teva’s!

The next stop was Caesarea by the sea. We got to sit in the Roman Amphitheater. They have put a new facade on much of it and actually use it for performances in the summer. Mrs. Debby was elected to sing for us from the stage. The acoustics are just fabulous. She was singing in just a normal voice and we were pretty far up and could hear her clear as a bell.

From there we walked to the palace. It was very likely the palace that Paul came to when Felix said, “I am almost persuaded to be a Christian”

Ever since my class on the Apostle Paul, he has become one of my favorite Bible characters and today standing on a site where he might have stood and looking out at the view was incredible. I am not sure I can explain the feeling of awe and wonder that I had. To think that he stood there and saw it in all its glory. He lived at the height of the city I was in.

The hippodrome was pretty awesome.  I got the actual feeling of what it was like for Ben-Hur. The sheer size, the noise, the length. I could imagine the crowds cheering and the horse’s hooves thundering. I can imagine the excitement that would have been there during a race.

After the time of the hippodrome was passed they started building houses right over where the bleachers were. The houses, naturally, were just remnants of what they once were but even as crumbly as they were I could sense the glory and beauty that had been. Even by the standards of today, the houses would have been rich and ornate.

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Lunch is going to once again not be fast food such as McDonalds or KFC. Our guide is trying to give us a flavor of the land. Yesterday St Peters Fish today is falafel.

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1:55

186 and 80 up. Wouldn’t the teens at camp complain if they had to do that every day just to get a drink of water? Once again I had another dimension added to, “Strength and honor are her clothing.”

We just got finished going through Tel Megiddo. What an absolutely fascinating place. Once again it was amazing to go see a place that I have studied about and learned about all my life.

We at lunch at the national park. It was really good. It was called falafel. It looked like meatballs but was actually made from ground up beans. They put the balls in pita bread and served all sorts of salad type of saladish things. I actually ate green olives with pits still in. They had a wonderful sauce or dressing that they poured over it. It looked like a ranch dressing. It was a very good meal that I would enjoy having again. Over here it is very easy to eat vegetarian. I have actually been doing that since I got here. Not that I have anything against meat and I am sure it is safe to eat but I just have not really wanted to. The food is so good. Well ok, I did eat the St Peters Fish yesterday. That was excellent.

We started the tour at the museum.  They had a neat little video about the excavation. There were 25 different time periods that the Tel has been through. It has seen the likes of King Solomon, Ahab, and Jeroboam. Just to name a few. We saw the gates from 3 different time periods. Jeroboam actually had built his city gates on top of Solomon’s. From the top of the Tel, we could see the whole of the valley of Har Megiddo.

When I was standing on top I could see across from me Mt Gilboa where Gideon defeated the Midianites. To the left of that was Mt Tavor, then Nazareth. I could actually see the Mt of the Precipice from that point. Behind me, I could see Mt Caramel and the monastery on the top.

We got to go down into the spring. That was the 186 steps down. It was not as bad as the stairs at the Wilds going up to the game room!

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One funny thing that is happening right now. Our bus is pulled over to the side. We are having problems. The driver jumped out and some random guy came up and they are working on getting the bus going again. Reminds me of my bus tour down in the Crimea in ‘96. Hmm, the bus just shut off. This could be an adventure!!!

Woooohooo! The bus is going again. I knew they would bang on it till it started working.

Woops, we are on the side of the road again. Hmm, this could make for an interesting trip back to Tiberius.

I was just observing the cities as we were sitting by the road. I noticed we were near an Arab settlement. The houses were unfinished. I also noticed the style of the houses. Most of them are very box like. The majority have flat roofs. I also noticed as we were traveling that most of the time they were building up. They had a completed first floor but then it looked like they had recently added the second floor then the third floor. These houses must be constructed very well for them to be able to build up like that.

I did notice that in what I think are the Jewish settlements some newer houses that looked very western or had sloped roofs.

Everywhere I look at the older houses and they seem to be patched and patched. They are very obviously older on the outside. However, I can see through some doors and windows and the inside of some look very nice and very modern. Looks are more than likely deceiving.

Another thing that I have noticed as we traveled is that I can pick up wireless signal on my netbook in all of the towns. I totally did not expect that at all. My expectations have not been right since I got here. I have not tried connecting to any of the networks. I am a little bit scared to. I don’t know whose signal it is and I don’t want unwanted stuff or people messing with my computer. Right now I have no signal but in the next town, I more than likely will. I think this country is better connected than the US.

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