The JOURNEY Begins
Day one was a great beginning for the journey. We began with a comprehensive tour of Caesarea Maritime where we stopped to meditate on Peter's visit to Cornelius' house. This marks the very site where the Gospel (God's invitation to know Him) is taken to the Gentile people. Peter's unusual obedience and willingness to join God in the mission outside of his own experiences and comforts compelled us all. We also saw the very site where Paul stood trial for His unwavering preaching of the good news. Paul's boarded a ship here at this Port for his last trip to Rome where he would be imprisoned and put to death for his faith.
Moving our way up the coast, we climbed Mt. Carmel for an outstanding view of the Jezreel Valley. Many had a moving experience on the top of Mt. Carmel where Elijah challenged his people to choose to worship God and defeated the prophets of Baal. We had a significant time of evaluating our own worship recommitting ourselves to worshipping God alone with all our heart, soul, and strength.
Next, we went to Tel Megiddo which is an absolute treasure of Biblical and archeological wonder. It includes over 16 separate and distinct layers of civilization. We stepped on walkways that were built as part of King Solomon's palace and the stables for his 400 horses & chariots. This site also provided an adventurous trek down a steep well dug by King Ahab redirecting water from a natural spring outside the city gates. This allowed God's people would have a protected water source. It was simply ingenious! There were a few other small surprises at this site. Some were surprised to learn that "mangers" in Israel were stone not wood. Pam, Chaplain Jim, and James were all happy to try it on for size.
The day ended with an unscheduled surprise stop at the 1st century site of Magdala (where Mary Magdalene was from). This is a current dig where we got to see where archeologists have just uncovered a fully in tact archway from the original community. The group had another reflective time considering Jesus' healing and transforming touch. And, for the record, I have found a new favorite ice cream stop to add to my list.
Finally, home to a beautifully presented full buffet for dinner (and of course, more ice cream)