After spending all day Monday traveling, we arrived safely at Tel Aviv's Ben Guion airport Tuesday afternoon. From the airport we road the tour bus to our hotel in Netanya a few miles north. Most of last night was a tad blurry from jet lag, but after a good night's rest we woke up and went out onto the balcony to do our daily Bible reading looking out over the Mediterranean Sea!
After breakfast we started driving and saw one amazing thing after another. It is simply too much to share in a single post. And to think it has only been one day! Anna and I thought that what we would do is select a single picture from the five locations we visited today as a sort of "highlight reel", and when I get home I will add a photo gallery to the web site with the rest. Besides, for now we only have access to the photos I take with my phone. We also thought it might be helpful to share a snapshot of the map Barry sent to us in our info packet. Before we left Alabama, I had an OCD moment (or Monk moment) and selected different colored sharpies to mark the map and hang it in a hallway at home for our children, so they know where we are from day to day. =)
As the bus was being parked, Barry and Gus both said we could spend a week at Caesarea Maritima, and they were right! From the theater with a current seating capacity of 4,000, Herod's Palace, to the harbor and aqueduct, the details of Biblical events were brought into clearer focus.
I thought of my enginnering friends in Birmingham as we looked at a section of the aqueduct that Herod the Great had built to provide sufficient water to Caesarea. The aqueduct carried water a distance of approx. 8 miles from the foothills of Mt. Carmel to the city, with a change in elevation of only 200 feet from one end to the other!
From the aqueduct we traveled a short distance to the top of Mt. Carmel, where Barry read 1 Kings 18. He reminded us that somewhere on this mountain, Elijah confronted the 450 prophets of Baal! What impressed many of us was the geographical perspective being on the mountain provided. From the roof of the gift shop next to the Carmelite chapel, El-Muhraqa, we had a beautiful view of both the Jezreel valley on one side and were faintly able to see the signs of Caesarea Maritima on the other. On the side with Jezreel, we were able to see Mt. Tabor, Moreh and Mt. Gilboa.
Next we went to Tel Megiddo, the tell of a city which by conservative estimates, has been conquered, destroyed and rebuilt more than 25 times! There are a lot of pictures to choose from for this site, but one that was unique was a early Canaanite high place, which was used for offering sacrefices. During the period of the divided kingdom, the kings of Israel were often measured by whether they built or tore down places like this.
The modern city of Nazareth has a population of between 70-80,000 people. In the first century, some estimate that the population of the small community was closer to 700. To help provide visitors with a better idea of what the town was like in Jesus' day, a non-profit entreprise called Nazareth Village converted a farm, just a couple miles from where Jesus grew up, into a replica of what town was like in the first century, complete with actors in period clothing. One of my favorite areas was the carpenter's workshop, where "Joseph" demonstrated the main tools of his trade on a rustic ladder he was making.
Thank you for all of the prayers and encouragment during our our trip! We have checked in with home a couple of times and the kids are doing great spending time with both grandmothers. Anna and I are incredibly blessed to spend this time with fellow saints, as we learn more about the land and history of the promised land. We will write more as soon as we can.
Jeremy & Anna Dehut
P.S. I apologize for this being posted so late in the day. We lost our internet connection just as I finished typing this.=)