Moving inland toward the Sea of Galilee, we stopped to visit several interesting and very significant sites. The first was Mount Carmel where the prophet Elijah called down the fire of God and defeated the prophets of Baal. (1 Kings 18:19-40) Unfortunately, fog obscured our views of the Kishon Valley below.
For most of our time in Israel, the weather was unusually cool and wet even for winter. Warm weather clothing stayed in our suitcases while we dressed in layers to fend off the chill. I was very happy to have taken gloves, a warm hat and an umbrella with me!
After Mount Carmel, we continued on to Megiddo (Hebrew for Armageddon) where many, many layers of archeological remains going back thousands of years have been excavated. Here, a giant fortress believed to have been built by King Solomon once stood.
At Megiddo, we had the first of several underground experiences. Descending approximately 180 stairs deep into a shaft in the ground, we followed a tunnel that brought water to the fortress from a small spring outside its walls.
Moving on, our next stop was Nazareth, the childhood home of Christ, where we toured a recreated first century village complete with cultivated terraces and vineyards, an ancient winepress, an operating olive press and a synagogue representing the one where Jesus identified himself to his townspeople as the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy of a coming Messiah. (Luke 4:14-30)
As we left the village, we were each given a tiny oil lamp, a reminder that we are called to be the light of Christ to a lost and hurting world.