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.

Thursday, 23 January 2014

Israel Trip Fourteenth Day: Zippori, Mar Elias School, and Nazareth Village

Today, we first went to Zippori or Sepphoris. I have no idea where I can find this in the Bible.

Water Reservoir

Water Reservoir

This is the water reservoir little bit far from the city. It is very deep and big. It can contain more than one million gallons of water.

Roman Paved Road

Roman Paved Road in Zippori

This is Roman paved road, and still well-preserved. According to Roman recording, there was not even enough space to put needle between the stones. And the road is always two wagon width for the marching of the legions and slightly arch shape so that it can drain water to both sides. Roman architect used to say that the stone is their friend and the water is their enemy.

Not only the road, but also there were so beautiful mosaics along the road side.

Nile House Floor Mosaic

Nile House Floor Mosaic

We went into Nile House which is one of the public buildings. It contains so many beautiful floor mosaics.

Zippori Theatre

Zippori Theatre

This is a theatre. I wonder if the show was free and open to public or they charged in some way.

Toilet in private Mansion

Toilet in private Mansion

And we went into an ancient mansion. The picture above is private toilet. And the Greek writing is “to health.” Talmud has a Q&A: “How do you know some is rich?” “If he has a privy near the dining place, he is rich.” So the owner of the mansion must have been so rich having this flushing toilet near his living room where I saw the “Mona Lisa of Galilee.”

Zodiac in the Centre of Zippori Synagogue

Zodiac in the Centre of Zippori Synagogue

Then we went to a synagogue. It was also very beautiful. But the zodiac mosaic in the CENTRE of the synagogue shocked me. All other floor mosaics are related to Torah and/or Judaism, but why the ancient Jewish people put the pagan zodiac in the centre of the synagogue?

The city of Zippori is so well-preserved because it was destructed by earth quake and never rebuilt. And the city of Pompey was also so well-preserved because of the volcano. Same is Qumran. They were threatened, so they put the scriptures into jars and kept them in the caves. The community itself was completely destroyed. It may not proper to say in this way, but their disaster and catastrophe is our blessing. Because of their disaster, many things were able to be preserved, and now we can study them.

Director and Teacher of the Mar Elias School

Director and Teacher of the Mar Elias School

Then we went to Mar Elias school. The Christian school in small town of Ibillin near Nazareth. It provides education to any students including Palestinians, Arabs, and so on. They used to have Jewish students too, but none now. One of the building was funded solely by the ex-president Bill Clinton.

Kids in the class

Kids in the class

After we heard from the director and teacher, we went into a classroom. It was Hebrew class taught by Jewish teacher. And I was told that this school is the only one where Jewish and Arabic (or Palestinian) teachers teach together. The kids are typical kids – laughing a lot and noisy, happy. It was my happiest day just watching the kids being kids.

Girls who love Korea

Girls who love Korea

When we were leaving the classroom, the girls came and asked me if I am from Korea. I said, “I am from Chicago, but I was born and grew up in South Korea.” They were so happy and asked me to take picture together. And then they talked about a few Korean TV shows and signers which I did not recognise because I do not keep track with the Korean culture. I just felt wow!

Church near the school

Church near the school

Then we went to the Church next to school. If you see it from the side, you may recognise it is ark (boat) shape.

Stairway to the church

Stairway to the church

On the stairway, Jesus’ preaching on Matthew chapter 5 beginning “Blessed are…” is written in four languages of English, French, Hebrew, and Arabic.

Church door

Church door

This is the Church door. You may recognise the children around Jesus are actually from all around the world. And the two boys standing a bit farther than other kids are a Jewish boy and a Palestinian boy. The smaller boy is wearing Kipa on his head, so he is Jewish. This scene is that the Palestinian boy is bringing Jewish boy to Jesus.

Inside the church

Inside the church

This is the inside of the Church. The church is so beautiful, made out of donations not only money but also talents. Each piece was all made. The church has partition which blocks people going to the holy place. It is their tradition.

Shepherd and Sheep in Nazareth Village

Shepherd and Sheep in Nazareth Village

Then we went to Nazareth Village, kind of living museum. The sheep were in the cage with the door closed. According to Daniel, the Nazareth Village guide, During the day time, the door is open but the shepherd is standing on it in first century then, no sheep can go out, and no one can get in. This is John 10.7: “Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep.”

Tomb Gate

Tomb Gate

This is the replica of a typical first century tomb. They said that they have actors on the Easter morning, playing the resurrection scene from the Bible. If I have another chance to be in the holy land and if it is during the Easter time, I would be good to come and watch the play. And this is small replica, so the actual door stone would be much bigger.

Daniel on Wine Press

Daniel on Wine Press

This is upper part of the wine-press. People tread on the grapes and the juice flows down to the lower part which gathers and contains the juice. In the first century, they must tread on the grapes with barefoot lest they crush the seed which makes very bitter taste. According to Daniel, the wine-press is under the terrace field while the threshing field is above the terrace which is the top of the hill. That is why Gideon was threshing in the wine-press so that he can hide. This is from Judges 6.11: “and his son Gideon threshed wheat by the wine-press, to hide it from the Midianites.”

Watch Tower

Watch Tower

This is typical watch tower in the first century.

Olive Oil Press

Olive Oil Press

This is an olive oil press and there is olive grinder next to it. To grind the olive, they used a huge mill with heavy millstone. Usually donkey moved the millstone, but today I volunteered and moved it as if I am a donkey even wearing the yoke. They crushed all the pits because even pits contains oils. You can see three places to tie stones in the wooden arm of the press. They pressed three times, first with just one stone, then it makes best and purest oil sometimes called as virgin oil. It is cleanest, and they donate them to the temple in Jerusalem. Second time, they use two stones to make not the best but still good oil and used it for human for every possible use. They pressed the olive with all three stones for the last time to make dirty and crude quality oil, not usable for human body but they used it as lamp oil.

Carpenter and Sister

Carpenter and Sister

These people are dressed in first century Galilean. He acts as carpenter and showed us some first century skills. She also showed us how to make thread out of the sheep wool. Her name is Hannah.

First Century Synagogue in Nazareth Village

First Century Synagogue in Nazareth Village

This is first century Jewish synagogue. Unlike the other later synagogue we’ve seen so far, it does not have the seat of Moses or the scroll place. Daniel said that the synagogue literally means gathering, and served like that. People gathers, prayed, studied, talked kind of town centre. It was not religious centre until the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem. One think I like in the synagogue is the pillar on the corner. The other side of the pillar is 90 degree which makes the pillar heart shape. Not only here, I’ve found those pillars in many other synagogues on actual archaeological sites. When Jesus or any other disciples including Paul went into a synagogue, they might have seen similar synagogues like this.

Daniel is kind of interesting person to me being a messianic Jew, believing in Jesus as messiah. George said there are many divisions in messianic Jews, and many of them does not think Jesus as God.

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Israel Trip Twelfth Day: Sea of Galilee, Capernaum, and Chorazain

Today was certainly New Testament Day, and especially Gospel Day.

Nazareth View from Saint Gabriel Hotel

Nazareth View from Saint Gabriel Hotel

This is the Nazareth view from the hotel. It is quite foggy and could not see far down there.

Cana

Cana

While we were driving down, our local guide identified us Cana where Jesus performed his very first miracle. He said wine is very precious gift because it means one years labour and huge portion of wealth. And if you do not provide enough wine in such events like wedding, it is permanent disgrace to the family. And how much it would be gossiped in that small town. Jesus literally saved the family. And George said that Jesus was not sitting with his mother in the feast because that is the Jewish tradition and culture that time. Even now they are separated in the synagogues.

Church of Beatitudes

Church of Beatitudes

First destination was the Church of Beatitude where Jesus preached the famous sermon on the mountain. On Matthew text, Jesus was on the mountain top, and it begins with Jesus sitting down. In Jewish tradition, rabbi stands normally, but when he sits, that means he is serious about his on-coming speech. So when Jesus sat down, everyone must have been quiet. And a beautiful church was built upon the rock which is believed that Jesus preached on.

Here is Matthew 5.3: “Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

Between the two Hieberts

Between the two Hieberts

They are my favourite professors at McCormick and they are husband and wife. Such a beautiful couple.

With George, our local guide

With George, our local guide

Then we went to Galilee and had worship on the “Jesus” boat. The service was good. We read Psalm 150 in different languages of English, Korean, Spanish, Hebrew and Arabic. Arabic was read by our local guide George. He is the best guide I’ve ever met.

2000 Years old boat

2000 Years old boat

This boat was found under the mud in the Sea of Galilee and scientist concluded this boat is about 2,000 years old. At Jesus days, there must have been so many boats on Galilee, and this is one of them. There is also possibility that Jesus was on this boat at least once. And the boat is made out of twelve different trees.

Migdal

Migdal

This is archaeological site of ancient Migdal. And there is huge construction is going on to build a Magdalene Centre and resort. Our famous Mary Magdalene means Mary from the town of Migdal. Galilee area is the core place of Jesus ministry. We had lunch here.

Herod's Massacre

Herod’s Massacre

I forgot the name of this mountain. Our local guide said that there was rebel against Herod among Jewish people around here, and they fled to that mountain. And Herod commanded his solders to push and throw all the rebels off the cliff. And the people in Galilee saw that.

Church of Peter's Primacy

Church of Peter’s Primacy

And we went to Peter’s Primacy Church. Peter and his fellow disciples came here and were fishing after the death of Jesus. And Jesus came here and prepared the fire and meal. Then John found the Lord and told Peter. After that Jesus asked Peter if he loves him three times. This is the Church built to commemorate it.

This is John 21.15: “So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs.”

One of seven springs

One of seven springs

This area is known as Heptapegon which means seven springs in Greek. We did not have time to go for it, but I ran and found one of the seven springs.

Olive grinder

Olive grinder

Then we went to ancient Chorazin, one of the three towns Jesus cursed. This is small town, and the people here must have been more conservative, and relatively closed-minded stuck in tradition and religion. That is why Jesus came here and worked so hard to change them. This is ancient olive oil press.

Peter or Peter's mother-in-law's house

Peter or Peter’s mother-in-law’s house

This is Peter’s house in the town of Capernaum. Many of the holy places are just to commemorate and/or the actual locations are in dispute. But this one is 100% legitimate, without any dispute. That means Jesus actually ate, slept, rested, preached, healed and talked there. It is most probable that Jesus walked through the whole town. And there is Jewish synagogue during Jesus time. Jesus went, read scripture and taught there.

Stairway to the roof

Stairway to the roof

This is the house next to Peter’s and you can see the stairway to the roof. In Gospel, good friends carried their paralysed friend to the roof and lowered him down. This is how. And the roof is usually covered with just leaves and straws woods. So it is easy to open.

Sunset in Capernaum

Sunset in Capernaum

This is beautiful sunset. And my crude camera cannot contain the beauty of it.

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.

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