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Caeserea Maritima

From One Coast to Another


Our first full day in the land of Israel saw us traveling from one coast to the other. We started by watching the sun rise over the resort city of Netanya on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea. From there, we traveled to Caesarea Maritima. This large seaport city was truly a jewel in the crown of King Herod's building projects. We toured the theatre, palace, hippodrome, and harbor. 

We then climbed to the top of Mount Carmel and revisited the story of Elijah's contest against the prophets of Baal. Our view was very clear and we could see for miles. There are so many locations of Biblical stories that can be seen from there.

After lunch, we toured the ancient city of Megiddo. Once again, the views across the Jezreel Valley were fantastic.

We concluded our day with a visit to Nazareth Village. This first century replica village helps the visitors understand life during the time of Jesus.

We have arrived at truly one of my favorite hotels in Israel, the Ron Beach on the shores of the Sea of Galilee. We will spend three nights here touring the land of Galilee. 

The tour group is doing great and everyone is having a great time. It is an honor to travel with them and learn more about the Bible. 

Water from Mount Carmel

Water from Mount Carmel

During the first century BC and AD, the coastal city of Caesarea served as the Roman Administrative Center of the province of Syria. Even today, Caesarea Maritima displays any number of the massive building projects overseen by King Herod. Form the theatre, the praetorium, the hippodrome, and harbor, all still have the identifiable thumbprints of King Herod all over them. 

From an engineering perspective, one of the most awe-inspiring projects is the aqueduct system which transported water into the city. Having a population of over 100,000 people, water was a necessity. King Herod built an aqueduct that stretched eight miles from a spring at the foot of the Carmel mountain range to the city of Caesarea. Much of this aqueduct can still be seen today.

The picture at the top of this post was taken from the top of the theatre in Caesarea looking northeast. The range of mountains you can see in the distance is the Carmel. This was the source of the fresh water which was brought into the city of Caesarea.

Often, we have the tendency to think about the people in ancient times as being uneducated or somehow intellectually less than we are. That is not true at all. It may have taken them a little longer to accomplish a task, but they got it done. And often, the task was completed in such a way that is far superior than what we are capable of today.

(Note: People who have visited Caesarea Maritima will notice the miniature model of the city under the covering in the bottom-right hand portion of the picture. Visitors often stop at this model to better understand the ruins that they are seeing.)

2012 Israel Trip - Day Three

2012 Israel Trip - Day Three


Well, our first full day in Israel was a complete success. We left Netanya at 8:00AM and drove north toward Caesarea Maritima. Caesarea was a very large and important city in the first century. Among other things, it is the home of Cornelius. Cornelius was a just man and after seeing a vision, asked his men to go to Joppa and look for Peter. Having landed yesterday in Tel Aviv (which is adjacent to Joppa), we have traveled the same route that those men took so long ago. The ruins at Caesarea Maritima are impressive. You can see the theater, the location of Herod's palace, the hippodrome as well as many other sites. It enables you to get a great perspective of this city and makes you appreciate the Scriptures even more. As you know, Paul was imprisoned in Herod's palace for a period of two years awaiting trial. From the excavations, we know that the palace was immediately adjacent to the hippodrome. So, imagine Paul sitting in his room listening to the cheers of thousands of people as they enjoyed the activities in the hippodrome, knowing that he could not go out and watch. That is something that isn't mentioned in scripture, but becomes evident when you see the city for yourself. From Caesarea Maritima, we went up into the Carmel Mountain Range and visited the traditional site of the contest between Elijah and the prophets of Baal. Again, the geographical references mentioned in Scripture come to light when you visit the site. From the top, you can see the area where all of the Israelite people would have watched. You can see the Kishon Brook in the valley below where the prophets were killed. And, you can see the Mediterranean Sea where the young man with Elijah reported seeing the small cloud which eventually developed into a large rainstorm.

We continued on to Megiddo, which has ruins dating back several thousand years. We walked through the gate which was constructed during the reign of Solomon. And, we walked down the deep tunnel that was constructed by King Ahab to securely get water into the city. From the tel of Megiddo, you have an unforgettable view of the Jezreel Valley, where many famous battles have been fought over the millennia. You can clearly see why the city of Megiddo was so important during ancient times.

We ended our day by driving through Nazareth (where Jesus grew up), Cana (where Jesus performed his first miracle) and saw the tel of Gath-hepher (the birthplace of Jonah). We finally arrived in the city of Tiberias on the shore of the Sea of Galilee.

Tomorrow starts off with a boat ride on the Sea of Galilee. The same sea where Peter, Andrew, James and John used to fish. And the same sea that Jesus calmed during a terrible storm. What a great way to start the day.

For those of you who are interested in following other blogs from people on this same trip, here are the links to their blogs: