Sunday, March 18, 2018

A stampede, a fighting prophet and the Med!

The next morning, our devotional continues. ‘Lead us not into temptation.’ God doesn’t tempt us, but rather, we, thinking we are having our faith tested, we give ourselves reason to give in to temptation. But we forget that we have a new nature. Old flesh is old ways, patterns influenced by culture. God will not remove us from that culture, but rather help us overcome it, and by overcoming temptation, we learn to trust Him more. 

Yossi speaks again. The mountain ranges around Galilee are Golan, Gilboa, Gilead, and Galilee, all 'G's'. But since the Hebrew names have no vowels, we have given them some. We head for Nazareth which is mostly Muslim. It means ‘root’,  or ‘shoot’. And since Jesus is the root and shoot of Jesse, it would have made sense back then to have him come from Nazareth.
There we visit a first century village (a pioneer village, of sorts.)

As soon as we get there, we witness a dangerous stampede!
Get out of the way!

We follow them to the corral. I look at one of the lambs. They're so lovely, so perfect. It’s not hard to see why the animal was chosen by God. 

A perfect lamb!

And learn how olive oil was pressed years ago. There are three types of pressing. Each becomes harder. I think of the number of times Jesus prayed in the garden. Each time harder than the last. He was crushed for our sins. 

Finally, the mash of olive pulp is good only for fuel, while its water is mixed with limestone and plastered on walls for bug repellent. We are given a small clay lamp as a souvenir. 
As we step outside into the brilliant day, I look around us. It’s strange to see this ‘village’ nestled amidst the towering apartment buildings. 

After leaving Nazareth, we climb to Mount Carmel. Wildflowers such as red anemones, colourful cyclamen, and lavender dot the hillside. On the way up, we get another lesson in Hebrew etymology. Yahweh means ‘was, is, will’, or as we Christians later describe it, ‘I am’. In fact, to me, those two expressions are the same. The top of the mountain is beautiful, well-groomed and the only sign of discord might be the guard dog fenced in with the gardening equipment.  At night, I presume, he’s allowed to roam, a canine prophet enforcing the rules.

The plain of Armageddon, from Mount Carmel.

The church here commemorates how the Prophet Elijah mocks the followers of Ba’al and how God lit the soaking wet pyre when the false god could not light even a tinder dry one. But we learn another lesson. Elijah was also a fighter, slaughtering 400 followers of Ba’al as he tears down the mountain in a rage against the false gods. After viewing the plain of Meggido, we pass near the Kishon River, and Yossi points out that Elijah had ordered his bonfire be soaked. But wasn't there a drought at that time? Where did the water come from? From the river and carried up Mount Carmel. 

The back side of Mount Carmel

We pass Manasseh, and after lunch, we reach Caesarea Maritime, easily spotted beside the long aqueduct. Here, archeologists found the tablet that finally proved extra-Biblically that Pilate existed. And here, facing the Herodian siren of questionable years, (Bernice who is there with her husband/brother. We may as well add incest to the list of evil things she did), Paul appealed to Rome, a decision that brought Christianity to the world. 

Can you see the lizard?

the Aquaduct

Our guide preparing to play for us

And we weren't the highest up!

We could hear him clearly and vice versa. The water beyond is the Med.

Yossi gets us into the amphitheater moments before it closes. He wants to play for us there, but another group decides to sing. We wait patiently, (we are Canadian, after all) and after Yossi begins to play, those of us way up at the top can hear him perfectly. His music today is Greek and appropriate among the ruins that face the Mediterranean, whose name means water between land masses with one opening to the sea.  

Some unusual colours

I found some sea glass on the shore and someone spotted a knapsack, having been left by another tourist. Our guide warns us that it will be blown up soon. 
The reality of living in Israel.

We avoid Tel Aviv, and therefore Jaffa. It’s getting late and traffic will be busy. But our guide won’t let us rest. We learn that in Jaffa, Peter saw something like a sheet come down with unclean food on it. But there are no sheets in Biblical times, and the passage describes a prayer shawl. And since Jews who don’t eat kosher aren’t considered Jews anymore, we learn that a new religion is born. Those who follow Christ are no longer considered Jews. Yossi hints about the answer to his first homework question. The prayer shawl has something to do with the Israeli flag. 
But homework must wait. We're coming into Jerusalem and the song 'Jerusalem, the Holy City' is playing. We climb through the sprawling suburbs until we reach our hotel.

Once in our room, our friends stop by with disturbing news. 

Israel has bombed a compound in Syria.

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