Feb 18, 2012

Day 4 in Israel

God greeted us in Tiberias with an amazing sunrise. The Galilee region is so beautiful and tranquil. 
Thank you Lord!
 While the water levels in the Galilee are not at the level of the droughts of the late 1980's and early 1990's, the water levels are about ten feet below normal. We've been getting some decent rain in the last couple of days so I am sure that will help.

We left our home for the first 5 days in Israel, the Ron Beach Hotel in Galilee, to start making our way toward Jerusalem!
Our home for 5 days
Our first stop of the day was at the ancient city of Acre or Akko as it is known today on the Mediterranean Coast. Acre was the capital of the crusader world after Jerusalem fell into the hands of the Muslims. This was the entry point of all crusaders into the promised land until it too finally fell into the hands of the Muslims. 

The Acre Citadel and its city would have been an amazing site to behold in its day. It is still grand even though it lies in ruins. 
The Citadel of Acre

The Templars and Hospitaliers became very powerful and rich as a result of the crusades. So much so, that the kings and the Pope eventually wiped out the Templars after the failed crusades as they amassed so much wealth and power.
This would have been the first stop for all traders. This was actually built by the Muslims after they defeated the crusaders. 

Look at the different colors of the columns. They are columns which were pillaged from other sites by the Muslim conquerors to build this site.

The Mediterranean Sea had swells of 6-10 feet driven by the strong winds. 
The second stop of the day was at Mt. Carmel. Mt. Carmel was the site of Baal worship. This is where Elijah had his contest with the 450 prophets of Baal in 1 Kings 18.9-39. This is also the place where the prophet Elijah prayed that the three and half year drought would come to an end, and where he repeatedly had his servant to check to see if there were any rain clouds forming.
This is where Elijah's servant would have been looking to see if there were any rain clouds. We certainly had rain today

Statue of Elijah slaying the prophets of Baal
The third stop of the day was the ruins at Caesarea, a large port city built by Herod the Great in honor of the Caesar in 22 BC and was the seat of the Roman government for over 500 years. Even now, the city is an engineering marvel.

The city was visited by the early apostles often.

  • Caesarea founded the home of Roman Procurators, including Pontius Pilate
  • Philip (1 of 7 deacons of Jerusalem) was first to preach the gospel in this city - Acts 8:40, 21:8-9
  • Peter preached in Cornelius' home where the Holy Spirit was poured out on Gentiles as at Pentecost showing that there is no Jew and Greek, slave or free, male or female when it comes to the gospel - Acts 10
  • The Apostle Paul visited the city three times - Acts 9:30; 18:33; 21:8-16
  • Paul spent two years in prison here - Acts 23:23-27:2

The city had no access to water, so it had to be brought into the city by the aqueduct that still stands today.
Aquaduct built by Herod the Great

The Mediterranean

The moat and the base of the walls at Caesarea.
 We then finally made our way up to Jerusalem!!!
The first stop was at the Church of Pater Noster, where it is believed Jesus taught the disciples how to pray using the Lord's Prayer. At the church, the Lord's Prayer is inscribed in over 70 different languages.

The traditional site which many believe is the cave in which Jesus and his disciples spent time in Jerusalem, and also the place where Jesus taught the Lord's Prayer

The next stop in Jerusalem was the Mt. of Olives and Gethsemane. This is where Jesus spent his last free moments praying to God before he was betrayed by Judas while the disciples couldn't stay awake to pray with him.

Some of these olive trees are over a thousand years old

Gethsemane means "the olive press"

The rock which tradition says is where Jesus prayed before he was betrayed

The beautiful Church of Gethsemane that now stands there
We then went to Mt. Scopus to get a view of the Old City of Jerusalem.
The wall of Jerusalem and Kidron Valley below.

It is believed that Jesus was taken to the corner of this wall when he was tempted by the devil to jump down and show his power

This is where the main steps leading into Jerusalem once stood

You can still see the steps here. The gate was closed up by the Muslims when they conquered Jerusalem.

Our home in Jerusalem for the next 6 days


Anonymous said...

Thank you Pastor James. We follow you with interest, prayers and positive thoughts. Don Tempel

James Kim said...

Don, appreciate knowing that you're following along with us in Israel. Next time, Lord willing, I hope you are able to see Israel for yourself!