Saturday, February 26, 2011

Project Israel- Galilee

We left Bethlehem this morning (we'll return in a few days), heading north to see some really cool things.

Our first stop was Ceaserea Maratima- a spectacular city with a large artificial harbor built by Herod the Great, added on to by the Crusaders, and then the Muslims after running the Crusaders off.

Next we went to Tel-Megiddo, a place that has seen many cities over the past few thousand years and is still an active excavation site. The "Plain of Armageddon" (the Hebrew translation of Megiddo) is mentioned in Revelation 16:16 as a place where kings meet, and is interpreted to be the site of the great apocalyptic battle. This is strange, because it's such a peaceful place! The city also has an impressive tunnel to the nearby spring in the event of a siege, which turned out to be counter-productive, as a besieging army was able to sneak through it for a surprise attack.

Then we were of to a Kibbutz called Mishmar ha Emek, an Israeli commune (they're not Communists, however) were everyone shares their property in common and works in agriculture and light industry to support the Kibbutz. While the community is not religious at all, there are elements of their life together that resemble monastic communities. They are Zionists, but understand that in a very different way that what we usually think of when we hear that word. More on this later.

Finally we traveled to Nazareth. We visited the Convent of the Sisters of Nazareth, which sits over a number of Koch Tombs- graves hewn out of rock with stones rolled in front of them. These are very much like the tomb the gospels say Jesus was laid in. We also visited the Basilica of the Annunciation, which is built over an ancient well where tradition says Mary received a visit from the angel Gabriel, telling her she would be the mother of the Messiah.

(As you can probably tell by now, we're having some amazing encounters with people who live in the Holy Land, and I'm having to process what I'm learning about the current situation from these encounters. I probably won't be able to put them all together until I get back, so while I'm here these posts will just be short daily reports and photos, but look for more in depth analysis during the first few weeks of March.)

Tomorrow will include a boat ride and worship on the Sea of Galilee, Capernum, and the trip across the Jordanian border into Amman. Until then, be well!

No comments: