Sabbatical 2017

Sabbatical 2017
Arc de Triumph

Monday, May 23, 2016

Israel 2016, Day 16

Our day started out on a sobering and sad note. One of our group, Linda, slipped in some wet pavement in Caesarea and fractures her wrist. At first, we were all sure it was badly broken. Her husband, Mike, and another member of the group, Chuck , who is a doctor, cared for her while the folks at the visitor's center brought a cart to get her back on the bus so we could take her to the hospital. Dr. G took them into the emergency room and made sure they were situated and cared for before we moved on to Mt. Carmel. 

Mt Carmel is described as "majestic" by Isaiah (Is 35:2). It is frequently associated with beauty and splendor. It's also where Elijah encountered the prophets of Baal (1 Kings 17). 

Mt. Carmel sits in the middle of the Carmel Mountain Range, a group of mountains that run east/west north of central Israel and ends at the Mediterranean Sea. This range defines the southern edge of the Jezreel Valley of which we'll be hearing more about in the next few days. 

For now, Jezreel's importance to ancient Israel was as a major passageway for the east to the western coastal lands and the harbors available there. The passages through the Mt Carmel Range become equally important to any north/south travel. 

In Elijah's time, the territory was dominated by Baal worshipers and it was considered Baal's home. Baal was known as a god of rain and fertility. 

Keeping that in mind, Elijah prophesies a drought for three years in the land. Apparently Baal is powerless over the one true God as the drought occurs leading to a showdown between 400 of Baal's prophets...and Elijah. Baal's prophets are unable to summon their God after nearly a day of chanting, dancing and cutting themselves. Meanwhile Elijah calls out to God only one time. When he does, God sends fire down to consume a thoroughly soaked offering demonstrating His mighty power and condemning all 400 of Baal's prophets to execution. All this happened on Mt Carmel. 

This also overlooks the site where Deborah and Barak battle the Canaanites. God mires the chariots of the Canaanites in the mud of the mighty Kishon, which lies in the middle of the Jezreel Valley. There's some tongue-in-cheek humor here that would go unnoticed if you didn't see what the Kishon normally looks like. It is barely more than a creek. 

God defeated the Canaanites with a muddy creek!
Statue of Elijah at the top of Mt Carmel
The Jezreel Valley as seen from Mt. Carmel. That's The Hill of Moreh (Gen 12:6, Dt 11:30, Judges 7:1) off in the haze to the left and Mt. Gilboa on the right (where Saul died in battle in 1 Sam 31).

We moved a bit eastward to Megiddo, which sits where the Megiddo Pass intersects the Jezreel Valley. This is another strategic location as the Megiddo Pass is the easiest pass to navigate through the Mt Carmel Range. 

Isaiah prophesies in Is 63 that the enemies of God, an innumerable hoard of warriors, will gather in Bozrah. In Rev 16:21-26, we see that the army spreads all the way to Megiddo (Armageddon is the "Mountain of Megiddo") on a 200 mile long battle field for the final battle. 

Many of the sites we visit feature models of how the original site looked. This is an excellent model of Megiddo as it was in ancient Israel. 
Megiddo was heavily fortified and featured a six chamber gate. 
Here's where the Megiddo Pass meets the Jezreel Valley
Tiffany seeks some shade under a palm tree at the top of Megiddo.
We crossed the Jezreel Valley and headed to Nazareth and the Nazareth Overlook. Isaiah 9 prophesies that the Messiah would " brought into contempt in the land of Zebulon and the land of Naphtali." Zebulon and Naphtali are two of the original twelve tribes of Israel. Nazareth, which was Jesus's home town for a while, was in the land of Zebulon. When Jesus moved to Capernaum in Mt 4:13, He moved into the land originally allotted to Naphtali.

The Nazareth Overlook rises above the northern end of the Jezreel Valley. Some believe it may be the cliff mentioned in Luke 4:29.

Mt Tabor as seen for the Nazareth Overlook
The cliff is steep and very high
We covered a lot of ground before arriving in Nazareth for the evening. Tomorrow, we move on to Tiberias! 

This is a tomb that sits beside the road to Nazareth. It is probably very much like the one Jesus was buried in with a smaller opening and stone than the one in the Garden Tomb. We had a surprise visitor while we were snapping pics!
This stone could actually be handled by a few men in a hurry as Nicodemus and Joseph of Aramethea were.

Joey sneaked in the back of the tomb to surprise us all
We finally received good news about Linda near the end of the day. The fracture was serious and painful bit she's OK and should be able to rejoin us tomorrow. 

1 comment:

  1. Tell Linda I'm praying for a quick and complete healing. And I pray that the pain is greatly reduced as she completes her travels.