Hannah and Je together

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Israel Trip Sixteenth Day: Mount Carmel, Caesarea

Though we have one more day, today is actually the last day in this trip because we will leave the hotel for airport at 1:30 AM.

St. Gabriel Hotel Church at Nazareth

St. Gabriel Hotel Church at Nazareth

Before we left the St. Gabriel Hotel in Nazareth, I went to the Hotel Church. It was not that huge one, but beautiful one. It is not used currently.

Elijah on Mount Carmel

Elijah on Mount Carmel

Then we went to Mount Carmel. Mount Carmel is not just one peak of mountain but a whole range, and we went to the highest point where the Carmelites are living. This is the prophet Elijah’s statue in the yard.

View from the Mount Carmel

View from the Mount Carmel

This is the view from the top of the Mount Carmel eastward. If Elijah competed with other prophets of Baal on this spot, he would have dragged them down to the valley on the picture above (according to Old Testament professor Ted Hiebert). This is such a beautiful view. On clear day, we can see the Mediterranean sea, Nazareth, and whole area.

Caesarea

Caesarea

Then we went to that famous Caesarea. Caesarea is built by Herod the great, named after, of course, Caesar. Herod wanted non-Jewish totally Roman city.

Theatre

Theatre

This is the theatre. You can see the two levels of seats in the restored theatre, but originally there were three levels, containing total five thousand people. It also has many exits for emergency. And they filled the lower part of the stage and floated small boat for the marine scene.

Original Seat

Original Seat

In the picture above, you can easily identify which is original and which is restored seat.

Pontius Pilate

Pontius Pilate

Caesarea is one of the important sites for Christians including Peter’s visiting Cornelius. And there is one more thing for Christians; Pontius Pilate, the name which Christians cannot forget. This is the replica to show what was found. Here we can identify “Tiberius,” the name of the emperor. “…tius Pilatus,” part of the name of Pontius Pilate, and “Praefectus Iudaeae” which means Prefect of Judea.

Carsarean Harbour

Caesarean Harbour

This is the ruin of the ancient harbour.

Hippodrome of Herod

Hippodrome of Herod

There was one more entertaining thing beside the theatre – Hippodrome, the Formula one in the ancient days. This is very impressive to me because of the movie BenHur.

View from the restaurant

View from the restaurant

Then we had lunch all together at the Port Cafe at Caesarea, and this is the view from the restaurant.

Aquaduct to Carsarea

aqueduct to Caesarea

Caesarea was built by Herod, but August borrowed him architects which means this city was not only Roman culture, but also Roman technology. When we say Romans, we always think about two things: Roman Road and Roman aqueduct. Consequently Caesarea also had two aqueducts. And this is one of them.

Depth of the Aquaduct

Depth of the aqueduct

The aqueduct was connecting the city from the spring in the mount Carmel. And the depth of the aqueduct reaches my waist and if we consider the water was constantly flowing, the amount of water was huge.

Beach boy

Beach boy

And I enjoyed the beach of Mediterranean sea. Sadly after I came out of the beach, I cut one of my toes on the asphalt.

Seasons Hotel Lobby

Seasons Hotel Lobby

Then we drove to the Seasons Hotel in Netanya. This hotel is very good. I stayed at crappy hotel in Nazareth for many days, and I cannot even stay one full night at this awesome hotel!

View from the room

View from the room

This is the view from my hotel room.

Monday, 27 January 2014

Israel Trip Fifteenth Day: Megiddo, Anunciation Church, NETS

Today we kind of loose day. We went to Megiddo. Megiddo’s archaeological excavation was done by Oriental Institute of Chicago University, and their job and results are displayed at Oriental Institute Museum in Chicago.

Mountain near Nazareth

Mountain near Nazareth

On the way to Megiddo, we went through a tunnel under the mountain which the ancient Nazarenes tried to push Jesus down off the cliff. According to our George, traditional Jewish execution is: to bind the hands in the back, throw him/her from the cliff head down, and pile the stone over the body.

Outer Solomon City Gate

Outer Solomon City Gate

This is the outer gate constructed by Solomon. There is another inner gate by Solomon. Two major builder of this city is Solomon and Ahab.

Canaanite Gate

Canaanite Gate

This is the older gate made by Canaanites.

Sacred Area

Sacred Area

This is the ancient sacred place, and the round platform is at least thousand years older than Solomon.

Grain Storage

Grain Storage

This is the grain storage with two stairs; one for going down, the other for coming up. It used to be covered to protect the grains from rain, dust and so on.

Water System

Water System

Then we went down to the water system tunnel. The city of Megiddo had same problem as Jerusalem – the water source is out of the city wall. So they dug the underground passage to the water source.

Megiddo has been the key point since the human history, because it is the bridge between Egypt and Mesopotamia. Without crossing here, they cannot go to the other side. Megiddo comes out a lot in the Bible, and Armageddon in the Revelation is Greek transliteration of Hebrew word Har-Megiddo which means the mountain of Megiddo.

Basilica Annunciation Upper Level

Basilica Annunciation Upper Level

Our next destination was Basilica of Annunciation. There are so many churches of Annunciation, but this is the biggest one built over the crusader church which was built over the Byzantine church. The church is all about A and M shape which is the initial of “Ave Maria.”

Art from Japan

Art from Japan

The church has two level, and there are lots of arts from all over the world are on display on the upper level. This one is from Japan and the writing at the bottom says Flower / Of / Holy / Mother / Son, and we can say Beautiful Holy Mother and the Son.

Nazareth Evangelical Theological Seminary

Nazareth Evangelical Theological Seminary

Then some of the McCormick group went to Nazareth Evangelical Theological Seminary, and others enjoyed the first and last free time. The president of NETS is Arab Israeli Christian. We heard many things, but I am glad that there is Christian seminary in Nazareth. As Arab/Palestinian Christian seminary, they have so many things to do. I hope we can build good relationship between NETS and McCormick.

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Israel Trip Thirteenth Day: Hazor, Dan, Banyas, Tabgha

Today was field study day without any speaker.

Wall of Hazor

Wall of Hazor

We went to Hazor first. It is one of the strong fortress which Solomon built to strengthen his kingdom. Just as other ancient sites, it is also built upon older town, and it has twenty different layers. Among the layers, scholars found total black layer which means it was burnt totally. Not just a small fire, but total destruction. And the date matches with Joshua’s invasion.

Burnt and Broken Stones

Burnt and Broken Stones

These are some of the remained burnt stones. They are very strong stone, but in the great fire, they broke like this.

Biggest Source of Jordan

Biggest Source of Jordan

Then we went to ancient location of the tribe of Dan. And we found the beginning of Jordan river. The sound was so good. This is from Ezekiel 43.2: “and his voice was like a noise of many waters.”

Dan Trail

Dan Trail

Then we had nice hiking through and along the trees and forest.

Altar at Dan

Altar at Dan

We found the altar and worshipping place built by Ahab, so that people in northern kingdom would not go to Jerusalem to worship God. The iron bars marks the actual size of original altar. It is so huge. And behind the altar, we can see the elevated site where Korean people from Hanaro Church sat. It is like Ziggurat and it is typical to be with the altar.

Israeli Gate

Israeli Gate

Then we found a Israelite city gate, probably built by a Northern king.

Canaanite Gate

Canaanite Gate

If we go around the Israelite gate, archaeologists found and dug Canaanite gate. It is at least 1,000 years older than the previous Israelite gate. And possibly Abraham went through that gate.

Mount Hermon

Mount Hermon

This is mount Hermon. It is Psalm 133.3: “As the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion: for there the Lord commanded the blessing, even life for evermore.” And many people believes that this mountain is where Jesus transfigured himself.

Zeus Temple

Zeus Temple

Then we went to Banyas. Its name in Jesus time was Caesarea Philippi, and is under the Mount Hermon (so-called Mount Transfiguration) in Golan Height. This is the temple of Zeus. There are many temples for Pan, sacred goat, and August of course. It is built by Herod. Wherever we go, we hear the name of Herod at least once a day.

Cave in Banyas

Cave in Banyas

This is a cave there. And probably somewhere around here Jesus asked his disciples who does the people say he is. It is from Matthew 16.13: “When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?”

Roman Bridge

Roman Bridge

People began to go back to the bus, and I ran farther with D’Angelo and Eileen as far as we can run. We saw more of the Herod’s structure, and saw this roman bridge.

K-Bab, Original Taste of Galilee

K-Bab, Original Taste of Galilee

We stopped at a highway rest area and went in K Bab, “Original Taste of Galilee,” to find out it is one of the best restaurants we been to so far.

Heptapegon Church

Church of Multiplication

Then we went to the church of the multiplication where Jesus blessed two fish and five loaves to feed five thousand men (without counting women and kids). The church was built upon a rock which you can see under the table. And it is believed that Jesus put the loaves and fish on the rock to bless.

Floor Pattern

Floor Pattern

This is ancient church built upon another church. And we found some so beautiful floor mosaics even from 4th century. The courtyard was one of the best place to enjoy the peace and meditate. They have an olive tree in the centre, and running water with beautiful sound and lots of Koi fish. Koi is Japanese word for the fish, and at the same time, it means love, too.

Papyrus

Papyrus

We found the famous Papyrus in the courtyard too, where the word ‘paper’ came from.

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA

And my favourite – flowers.

Monday, 20 January 2014

Israel Trip Eleventh Day: Ramallah, Shechem, and Samaria

Today we moved from Bethlehem to Nazareth.

Israel Checkpoint

Israel Checkpoint

We had to go through the checkpoint because we were going out into Palestinian area. These checkpoints are horrible. But the worst is yet to come. We went to Ramallah to meet Mrs. Jean Zaru. Ramallah is founded by Christians, and still Christians are dominant. And it is rule that the mayor must be Christians from the old days. Ramallah also has many industrial and commercial businesses. Ramallah also works as the de facto capital of Palestine. It is not one of the tourist attraction, so people there gave us very curious eyes. Ram means high place and Allah is God. So Ramallah is Divine Heights.

Jean Zaru

Jean Zaru

Mrs. Jean Zaru is a Quaker. She is very active for the human rights of Palestinians, and also for the Palestinian women. In that way, she is kind of unique. People we met so far work for the general Palestinian, none for the specifically women. But as we all know, women tend to be weaker in many ways including physically and sexually. Consequently if women are exposed to same level of violence as men, they are way more vulnerable. And that is way we need to protect and help them more. Some people believe providing numerically same thing is fair, but I do not. Providing different things so that everybody can live equally is fair and that is my social justice. I would like to write about it later.

Land of Gibeon

Land of Gibeon

When we passed by on the bus, our local guide George identified us many different places. This one is land of Gibeon. It comes in Joshua 9. The people here deceived Joshua as if they were from the land of far far away.

Bethel

Bethel

This is Bethel. Bethel means house of God, and the story comes in Genesis when Jacob fled from his brother, he slept here and saw a ladder or stairway reaching to the heaven and the angels up and down.

Shiloh

Shiloh

This is Shiloh where Samuel stayed and ordained two first kings; Saul and David. And most importantly this is where the ark of covenant stayed. Shiloh means ‘his’ in Hebrew, and was dedicated place to God.

Mount Blessing and Cursing

Mount Blessing and Cursing

This is two mountains of Blessing (on the left) and Cursing (on the right) which Joshua summoned and arrayed people there and asked them to choose which God they would serve. This is in the land of Shechem. Ancient or Biblical Shechem is now called Nablus. Romans built this city at A.D. 70 after they conquered Jerusalem and named it Neopolice, new city. And the name became Nablus.

Jacobs Well Church

Jacobs Well Church

In the place where the Jacob’s well is, there is a Greek Orthodox Church and is so beautiful.

Jacob's Well

Jacob’s Well

Under the Church, we found the Jacob’s well. And just in case you may not know, the photo-shooting is forbidden. And again, our McCormick group got special permit again. I think God is really with us. I drew some water myself and tasted. It was good and I was amazed the well is functioning well even after 4,000 years of time. As you may know this is the well that Jesus met a Samaritan woman and talked.

Joseph's Tomb

Joseph’s Tomb

Then we went to Joseph’s tomb. There is no archaeological evidence on this as usual for holy places. But it is said by tradition. And the tomb itself is covered with nice stone, and nobody knows what is in there. The stone is supposedly built by Muslims because its direction is toward Mecca.

Town Kids

Town Kids in Samaria

Then we drove to Samaria, the capital city of Northern Kingdom of Israel. The original capital was another place, but the famous evil king Omri moved the capital to Samaria, and Ahab also reigned here. Our group had lunch there but I skipped the lunch and walked around the village. And I sat there and thought watching the mountains around: Some place are identified and marked as holy, and some not. Why and what makes the difference? The holy rock does not made up of some holy molecule. I think that is holy because someone did some holy action. We people makes some place holy or evil. Our action and our deed is most important thing.

Roman Basilica

Roman Basilica

Herod the great built a roman city in Samaria and named it sebaste – August in Greek. This is roman style Basilica where people gathers and do some business.

Theatre built by Herod

Theatre built by Herod

This is theatre. And there is ancient horse racing track built again by Herod (not in this photo). The track is now just a flat field.

John the Baptist Church

John the Baptist Church

By tradition, it is believed that John the Baptist’s head is buried here, and crusaders built a Church for him.

Palace of Omri and Ahab

Palace of Omri and Ahab

This is part of the Palace where the evil kings of Omri and Ahab lived.

View from the Samaria Top

View from the Samaria Top

We went to the top of Samaria so that we can have some nice view. According to a boy from the village, we can even see the Mediterranean sea on clear days. In biblical times, all and every important place is always the highest point in the whole area.

August Temple

August Temple

This is the August temple which Herod built to flatter August, the roman emperor. August is a god, and a son of god (which is Caesar).

Where Jesus met ten lepers

Where Jesus met ten lepers

After the Samaria, we moved to Nazareth. And at some point, our local guide said that we are running on the same road where Jesus met ten lepers.

Traffic Jam caused by Israeli checkpoint

Traffic Jam caused by Israeli checkpoint

Until now we were in the West Bank, and Nazareth is in Israeli land. And there is a checkpoint (we may say it border). And it was horrible experience waiting and stuck in the traffic. And when we got there finally, three soldiers with machine guns came up on the bus. They asked our local guide and Ted many questions in separate place. And they also checked everybody’s passport with actual face. They were not that kind, but I believe it was their maximum kindness. They would act way more horribly to Palestinians. I am glad that I experienced this at least once and I cannot imagine the lives of Palestinians who go through this everyday and even twice a day.

Blog at WordPress.com.