Thursday, June 30, 2011

Mount Carmel

The next morning we headed to Mount Carmel, where Elijah defeated the prophets of Baal in 1 Kings 18:17-46.
The church built on this site belongs to a Carmelite Order.

Beautiful views of the Jezreel Valley from the top of the mountain.

This view shows the mediterranean sea in the far distance.  It is a view from the other side of the mountain.

The yellowish section in the middle of the picture is the place where Elijah brought all of the prophets of Baal from the mountaintop to kill them in verse 40.  I was amazed at how far away that area was from the top of the mountain.  The Wadi Kishon runs in front of that area.

Getting a great Old Testament lesson from one of our professors. 
It was cold on top of the mountain and very windy!

The church built upon the traditional site of Elijah and prophets of Baal narrative.

A closeup of the top of the church

Stone accent


Next, we are headed to Megiddo!!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Jesus Boat

As we journeyed from Sepphoris to the Jesus boat museum, we saw a rainbow!
Magdala was one our way to the museum.  I was so thrilled to see this village because Mary Magdelene is one of my absolute favorites!  I read a historical fiction biography about her by Margaret George and it was wonderful.  I highly recommend it!
Another view of Magdala

A beautiful mosaic outside the museum

On the walls of the exhibit were photographs demonstrating the process of discovery and a restoration of the boat.

This image illustrates all of the different types of wood used to build the boat.

And here it is!  Amazing that it has survived, isn't it?!

This picture is of the mezuza outside of the hotel room.  Each hotel room has one and in it is the Shema:
"Hear, O Israel: the Lord is our God, the Lord is one."
Deuteronomy 6:4

And just for kicks, when we returned to the hotel and flipped on the ole tube, look what was playing -- Bonanza!  I couldn't believe I was all the way in Israel and there were Hoss and Ben Cartwright. :)

That evening was Ash Wednesday and so we had a special service where we gave and received the ashes.  Chris preached a wonderful sermon about ripping out the sin in our lives and not just mowing it down.  It was a sacred and special moment that I was so grateful to experience. 

Next time, we are on our way to Mount Carmel...

Tuesday, June 28, 2011


Back to Israel, my friends!  Today we will journey to Sepphoris, the traditional home of Mary's parents.
It had been raining all day and you can see in this image that my camera lens had gotten a little foggy.  These are the theater ruins at Sepphoris.

A closer image of the citadel.


The ruins of a wealthy home in the upper part of Sepphoris.

These are ruins of the mosaic within that home.  The outer U shape would have made up the entry way.

 I was amazed at the detail of the mosaic tilework. 
 A room in the house.
 This image is a closeup of one section of the mosaic.

Another detailed view of a portion of the mosaic.

Here are a few more detailed images of the mosaic work.  I can't imagine having this kind of art on the floor.  I remember hearing that some of the images represented characters in Greek mythology.

More ruins in the house.  I'm so glad they built everything with stone, so we can still see it!

Here are ruins of the city.  We learned on our tour that not only was Joseph a carpenter, but he was also a stonemason.  Apparently, the city of Sepphoris was undergoing rebuilding during the time Mary and Joseph would have lived in Nazareth, so it is possible that Joseph helped with the rebuilding of this community.  In fact, one of our guides said it was possible that Jesus might have helped Joseph with this work.  I believe Sepphoris had a Greek influence and another reason it was suggested that Joseph and Jesus may have worked here is because of a word Jesus uses in Scripture that has a Greek influence.  Unfortunately, I forgot to write the word down in my journal!  Oops!

The sign describes the Citadel, which was built by the Turkish people with Roman stones.

Quite impressive!

Ruins of the Jewish quarters

Our guide said that the stone sidewalk in the lower portion of this photo was probably from Jesus' time.

Then, we headed to the synagogue ruins.

This geometric pattern was the aisle of the synagogue.  If you'll notice the writing within the mosaic and on the edges, it denotes the names of those who gave money to the synagogue.

This sign gives more detail.

Possibly where the box containing the Torah scroll went.

Image of what the synagogue would have looked like.

Towards the bottom of this image are two lions on either side of a wreath.  From this perspective one of the lions looks like he is upside down in the lower right corner.  The wreath contained a benedictory phrase in Greek.  The designed lines around the lions represented protection and the lions signified guardians as this portion of the mosaic was near the pulpit in the synagogue.

This is the description of the lion and wreath with more detail.

A description of the mosaic below featuring menorahs on either side of a building.

This description is of the mosaic below which depicts Aaron's consecration in the tabernacle.

This description discusses the three images of the daily offering to the left, the shewbread table in the center and the basket of first fruits to the right that are featured below.

This sign describes the zodiac mosaic shown below.

The description of the mosaic depicting the binding of Isaac as shown below.

The mosaic depicting the angels' visit to Abraham and Sarah.

Description of the Abraham and Sarah mosaic.

It was so fascinating to see the detail in all of the mosaic work on the synagogue floor, especially considering the symbolism each one offerred.

Next, we journeyed to see the Jesus boat!