Day 3: This morning, we were up and headed to Nazareth, the place where Jesus was raised. First we visited the Nazareth Village a sort of recreation of Nazareth from Biblical times, our guide’s wife was actually from Rockwall, Texas, small world! It did rain on us a bit but who can complain about a little bit of rain?
After the Nazareth Village we left and went to the Catholic Church, Basilica of the Annunciation, there it was said to be Mary’s home where the Angel Gabriel visited her. After the Catholic Church we visited the Eastern Orthodox Church of the city built in the Byzantine Era and is over the well where Mary would have drawn water. Before arriving at the Eastern Orthodox church we walked a maze through the city. Stopping to have pizza for lunch and listen to the rain.
After the Eastern Orthodox Church and lunch we went to Sepphoris, now called Zeppori, here is where they believe Mary the mother of Jesus was born. There is an archeological dig there as we are visiting revealing beautiful mosaic tiled floors from the Roman era in what the Archeologist believe to be a dining room, portraying the god Dionysos, who is having a drinking competition with Hercules. A second mosaic tiled floor is discovered not too far in what they believe in a synagogue based on the images of the Old Testament and the zodiac signs in the center.
Day 4: Today was long with lots to see! It was one of my favorite days outside of Jerusalem. We began our day visiting Mount Carmel, where there is a Catholic Church with a statue of Elisha. We weren’t able to go inside because another group was already in there (israel’s number one source of income is tourism and we weren’t the only folks at any of the places we visited). One of the faculty members with us, Dr. R preached that morning from the top of the Mount. While we overlooked the Valley of Jezrell. Off we went from Mount Carmel to Meggido, another archeological site, it showed us how the inner and outer walls of the city were made and how dwellings where within them. We also walked through a tunnel to a natural spring, showing how these Biblical towns had access to underground water.
After Meggido, we went to my favorite location of the day (inner Architectural History Nerd was totally revealed here), Bet Shean. It is a large archeological site with a Roman Theater, colonnade, Roman Bath, a Citadel and so much more. There were whole columns in place, my favorite was the colonnade, a real Roman Colonnade from Roman times. To imagine people living there and using these structures struck me with awe and wonder.
At the end of the day we went to the Jordan River, to be baptized. It was about 55 degrees F that day and the water was so cold. Along with the faculty, Travis and I participated in baptizing one another. It was pretty awesome. That night at the hotel we had an impromptu Ash Wednesday Service. With no ashes around we used gray eye shadow, I know the Holy Spirit was proud of our quick thinking.