Monday, June 2, 2014

Israel 2014 -- Hezekiah's Water Tunnel; Day 9

The following descriptions in italics come from the webpage of Wayne Stiles, author of Walking in the Footsteps of Jesus. The photos are mine (Tim McKeown) from 2004.

 JERUSALEM - We start late morning at the Temple Mount Sifting Project to hopefully find artifacts from soil removed from under the Temple Mount.  

Abraham saw the acreage. David bought the lot. Solomon built the house.

Nebuchadnezzar tore it town. Zerubbabel rebuilt it. Herod the Great expanded it. Titus flattened it. Before these temples stood on Mount Moriah, it was nothing but a hill used for threshing wheat.
But today, the Temple Mount remains the most precious piece of real estate in the world. And the golden shrine that graces its crest has become the icon for the Holy City of Jerusalem itself.
How did this ordinary hill become holy? Not through battles or land bartering or by popular vote. God chose it.
Abraham Saw the Acreage
The site of the Temple Mount first appeared on the scene when God told Abraham to go to the land of Moriah and sacrifice Isaac there (Genesis 22:2).
The “Binding of Isaac” climaxed with the Lord providing a ram for Abraham to sacrifice in the place of his only son. Thus the saying began: “In the mount of the LORD it will be provided” (Genesis 22:14).
David Bought the Lot and Solomon Built the House
One millennium after Abraham, King David purchased the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite as a site to offer sacrifices after his David’s sin with the census (2 Samuel 24:18-25).
In the same area where Abraham came to offer Isaac, and on the very hill where David offered burnt offerings for his sin, Solomon began to build the First Temple on Mount Moriah in 966 BC (1 Kings 6:1; 2 Chronicles 3:1).
“Then Solomon began to build the house of the LORD in Jerusalem on Mount Moriah, where the LORD had appeared to his father David, at the place that David had prepared on the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite.” —2 Chronicles 3:1
The original size of the Temple Mount was smaller than the outline we see today, which is Herodian. Leen Ritmeyer has convincingly argued in his excellent volume, The Quest, that the Mishna’s measurements of a 500-cubit square Temple Mount fit with the archaeological evidence.
At the bottom of a staircase to the northwest of the Dome of the Rock lies a large step precisely 500 cubits (750 feet) from the eastern wall. Ritmeyer points to this step as the top of the pre-Herodian western wall.  The step since has been covered over with new pavement.
Along the outside of the eastern wall of the Temple Mount, a seam in the wall clearly joins two sections of wall built at different eras. If the older part of this seam forms the pre-Herodian corner of the 500-cubit square Temple Mount, then the Dome of the Rock covers the spot where the Temple stood—including, of course, the Holy of Holies.
Nebuchadnezzar Tore it Down and Zerubbabel Rebuilt It
The Babylonians under King Nebuchadnezzar tore down the First Temple on Tisha B’Av (the 9th of Av) in 586 BC. It had stood for 380 years.
The exiled Jews returned to their land after 70 years when Cyrus the Great allowed them to rebuild the Temple. The structure Zerubbabel erected seemed modest in comparison to Solomon’s magnificent edifice. Following the first Maccabean triumphs, the Jews improved it even more.
Herod the Great Expanded it and Titus Flattened it Again
The most elaborate reconstruction and renovation occurred when Herod the Great began his extensive building project that would crown the Second Temple.
Herod expanded the Temple Mount north, west, and south to its present dimensions of thirty-five acres.
After Herod the Great expanded the hill, its topography lay hidden beneath acres of backfill and retaining walls.
The construction of Herod’s marvelous temple began in 20 BC and continued for 83 years (imagine that!).
This was the Temple Jesus knew, whose destruction He predicted (Matthew 24:1-2). The Southern Steps of the Temple Mount where pilgrims walk today would have felt Jesus’ sandals too.
In AD 70 Titus rolled in his Roman legions and destroyed on Tisha B’Av in a matter of days what had taken decades to construct (see Daniel 9:26). Stones from the Second Temple still lay in the first-century street where archaeologists found them.

After lunch we go to DAVID’s CITY to see the recently excavated remains of the palace and WARREN’S SHAFT and SPRING TOWER from the Jebusite & Canaanite periods, and to walk through HEZEKIAH’S WATER TUNNEL.

Picture Source click here

When people picture the city of Jerusalem, they usually think of the historic Western Wall, or the Old City, or the Temple Mount crowned with the Golden Dome of the Rock.
But people on our tour were surprised to learn that the original city of Jerusalem lay just south of the Temple Mount on a small spur of land that encompassed about only ten acres.
Crammed with houses and punctured with archaeological digs, the original area of Jerusalem looks much different today than it did three thousand years ago when King David conquered it.
Today, this part of Jerusalem retains the name, “The City of David,” and offers a number of archeological interests that relate to the monarch. The best way to view the area is to ascend the stairs just inside the entrance to the Visitor’s Center and stand atop the observation platform.
The ancient world had a bully system that worked in straightforward terms. A nation would conquer a region and demand tribute—annual payment of money and goods. If you didn’t pay tribute, they’d come and kill you. Pretty simple system.
King Hezekiah refused to pay tribute to the bully. So the Assyrians invaded Judah. Archaeology has unearthed treasures that reveal Hezekiah’s faith in God.

After Assyria invaded Judah and began besieging the fortified cities (2 Chronicles 32:1).
“Hezekiah decided with his officers and his warriors to cut off the supply of water from the springs which were outside the city, and they helped him. So many people assembled and stopped up all the springs and the stream which flowed through the region, saying, ‘Why should the kings of Assyria come and find abundant water?’ . . . It was Hezekiah who stopped the upper outlet of the waters of Gihon and directed them to the west side of the city of David” (2 Chronicles 32:3-4, 30).

We conclude our day visiting the new excavations at the POOL OF SILOAM where you will be walking on the same stones that Jesus walked on.  To see on a map, click here
This is the picture I took in 2004. 
The Siloam Pool has long been considered a sacred Christian site, even if the correct identification of the site itself was uncertain. According to the Gospel of John, it was at the Siloam Pool where Jesus healed the blind man (John 9:1–11).
Traditionally, the Christian site of the Siloam Pool was the pool and church that were built by the Byzantine empress Eudocia (c. 400–460 A.D.) to commemorate the miracle recounted in the New Testament. However, the exact location of the original pool as it existed during the time of Jesus remained a mystery until June 2004.
During construction work to repair a large water pipe south of Jerusalem’s Temple Mount, at the southern end of the ridge known as the City of David, archaeologists Ronny Reich and Eli Shukron identified two ancient stone steps. Further excavation revealed that they were part of a monumental pool from the Second Temple period, the period in which Jesus lived. The structure Reich and Shukron discovered was 225 feet long, with corners that are slightly greater than 90 degrees, indicating a trapezoidal shape, with the widening end oriented toward Tyropoeon valley.
The Siloam Pool is adjacent to the area in the ancient City of David known as the King’s Garden and is just southeast of the remains of the fifth-century church and pool traditionally believed to be the sacred Christian site.
Artist’s rendering of the Siloam Pool, the Biblical Christian site where Jesus healed the blind man. Image: Jason Clarke. Source: click here

We then walk up the newly opened tunnel to the Western Wall area. Check into the Dan Jerusalem.

When you say the words “The Western Wall,” most folks think of the Western Wall plaza:
  • It’s the place where bar- and bat-mitzvahs regularly occur and where soldiers are inducted.
  • It’s the spot where ultra- and orthodox Jews come to pray—as well as many tourists—and the place of national prayer gatherings.
  • It’s Judaism’s most sacred site.
But like the tip of an iceberg, the Western Wall plaza represents only a small part of the whole. There’s much more of the wall to see. Most of the Western Wall lies buried beneath the rubble of time and hasn’t seen the light of day for centuries. But a tunnel lets you see the entire length of the wall today.

The Western Wall Tunnel
Because the site represents part of the Western Wall, the tour requests all men to cover their heads in respect. The model explains the stages of building the first two temples on the site.
  1. Solomon built the original temple, and the Babylonians destroyed it in 586 BC.
  2. After the Jews’ return from exile, Zerubbabel helped rebuild the temple. Herod the Greatgreatly expanded it in the first century BC—though the construction continued into the first century—decades after Herod’s death.
The stones visible in the tunnel tour date from Herod’s time and represent the western section of the massive retaining wall that supported the base of the Second Temple. But these treasures weren’t always visible.

Israel 2014 -- Bethlehem; Day 10

BETHLEHEM - Christmas comes early this year as this morning you enter BETHLEHEM.

The merchant shops of modern Bethlehem make use of the town’s famous event by selling mass-produced olive wood nativity sets and Christmas paraphernalia. Not even in Bethlehem can we escape the commercialism of Christmas.

But just east of the city lies a large pasture known as “The Shepherds’ Field.”
  • Here the modern traveler can exchange Christmas shopping for the Christmas story.
  • No olive wood sets . . . just olive trees. No merchants hawking trinkets . . . just some local children holding lambs in their arms.
  • This rocky meadow represents the likely location of the angel’s announcement to the shepherds that first Christmas night.
Born to Shepherd. Born to Die as a Lamb.

The shepherds guarded flocks of sheep that were raised for sacrifice in Jerusalem. They heard the words from the angelic herald:
Today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. —Luke 2:11
These words gave a glimpse of what salvation would cost: the Babe in the manger would become the final sacrificial Lamb (Luke 2:11-12; John 1:29).

Jesus—just like the flocks the shepherds pastured that night—was born to die in Jerusalem, only five miles up the road from Bethlehem.

Jesus’ Birth Story Had You in Mind
Why would the Lord first announce the Messiah’s birth to lowly shepherds? Why would Jesus’ birth story begin in a barn?

Scripture reveals that “God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise,” and Jesus Himself would later pray:
I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this was your good pleasure. —Luke 10:21
God choose such an ignoble beginning for such an important birth, perhaps for the same reason He would choose such an ignoble death for such an exemplary life.

Because God had you in mind.

The Lord knew that we—lowly sinners—needed a Savior. Jesus came to the lowly, lived a humble life, and died an ignoble death. All so that we could have our sins forgiven by faith in Him.

Climb the HERODIAN, the mountain-fortress of Herod the Great where the infamous king’s tomb was just excavated several years ago.

Hearing from the Magi that the “king of the Jews” was born in Bethlehem, the paranoid Herod sent and slew all the male boys under two years old in the town—a cryptic fulfillment of Jeremiah 31:15.

Of course, Jesus’ family got word of the impending threat and escaped by night to sojourn in Egypt until Herod’s death (Matthew 2:13-18).

Whenever I visit the area of the Herodium, I can’t help but think of the historical irony that Herod tried to kill Jesus—but failed. Instead, Herod himself died and was buried in the Herodium overlooking the very city the Messiah was born (Micah 5:2).

This offers a lesson of great encouragement in God’s sovereignty.

Devotional Thought for the Herodium
Read Matthew 2:1-18.

God warned Joseph in a dream to take Jesus and Mary and flee to Egypt. In a wonderful twist of poetic irony (i.e. God’s sovereignty), the raving King Herod died and was buried in the Herodium—where archaeologists recently discovered his tomb—overlooking the birthplace of the true King of Israel.

Caesar’s census caused Joseph and Mary to go to Bethlehem two years earlier. Herod’s murderous edict caused them to leave Bethlehem.

We can take encouragement that though the most powerful rulers in world make decrees and decisions that require us to move on, they only play into God’s sovereignty.

This wasn’t the first Joseph, by the way, whom God spoke to in dreams and sent to Egypt. What the patriarch said 2000 years before Jesus was born was just as true with Jesus’ move to Egypt: “You meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive” (Genesis 50:20).
God uses even godless decisions to bring about good in our lives. That’s His sovereignty. (Tweet that.)
The Lord’s will for our lives is never thwarted by godless decisions. Instead He uses them for His purposes and for our good.

We then go to the SHEPHERD’S FIELD (YMCA) to sing Christmas carols inside a shepherd’s cave (with manger outside!).

Caves where shepherds “kept watch over their flock” still abound in the area east of Bethlehem. Here, the Gospel of Luke tells us, an angel announced the birth of Jesus.

The angel’s good news was not given to the noble or pious, but to workers with a low reputation. Jewish literature ranked “shepherd” as among the most despised occupations of the time — but Christ was to identify himself with this occupation when he called himself “the Good Shepherd” (John 10:11).

The traditional place of the angel’s visit is the town of Beit Sahur. Originally known as the Village of the Shepherds, it is now an eastern suburb of Bethlehem.

The tradition connected with the Shepherds’ Field is complicated by the fact that archaeologists have identified more than one possible site.

Next we enter the CHURCH OF THE NATIVITY, the traditional birthplace of Jesus and site of Jerome’s translation of the Latin Vulgate.

Entering the church that marks the site of Christ’s birthplace means having to stoop low. The only doorway in the fortress-like front wall is just 1.2 metres high.

The previous entrance to the Church of the Nativity was lowered around the year 1500 to stop looters from driving their carts in. To Christians, it seems appropriate to bow low before entering the place where God humbled himself to become man.

Today’s basilica, the oldest complete church in the Christian world, was built by the emperor Justinian in the 6th century. It replaced the original church of Constantine the Great, built over the cave venerated as Christ’s birthplace, and dedicated in AD 339.

Before Constantine, the first Christian emperor, the Romans had tried to wipe out the memory of the cave. They planted a grove dedicated to the pagan god Adonis, lover of Venus, and established his cult in the cave.

As St Jerome wrote in AD 395, “The earth’s most sacred spot was overshadowed by the grave of Adonis, and the cave where the infant Christ once wept was where the paramour of Venus was bewailed.”

After time to shop at an OLIVE WOOD STORE we go back to Jerusalem and return to the Dan Jerusalem.

Israel 2014 -- Gethsemane; Empty Tomb; Day 11

The house of the High Priest where Jesus was questioned.
JERUSALEM - Begin today at CAIAPHAS’ HOUSE and then walk the VIA DOLOROSA, Jesus’ path to the cross, ending at the CHURCH OF THE HOLY SEPULCHRE, the traditional site of the crucifixion and tomb of Jesus. 

The Via Dolorosa
Jerusalem’s modern Via Dolorosa—the “Way of Suffering” that venerates Jesus’ walking route from Pilate’s Praetorium to Golgotha—owes its location to tradition, not history. The same is true with the nearby Ecce Homo Arch and the Monastery of the Flagellation.

Unfortunately, for many Christian sites, tradition trumps truth and history. 

The misunderstanding occurred because many assume Pilate judged Jesus at the Antonia Fortress, which was located at the northwest corner of the Temple Mount.

However, Josephus indicated that the Roman governor resided in Herod the Great’s palace—the Tower of David Citadel beside today’s Jaffa Gate—and set up his judgment seat before it (Wars, 2.14). Philo affirms that Pilate stayed in the palace (Leg. in Caium, 38, 39).

The Church of the Holy Sepulchre

One of the biggest surprises to Christian pilgrims in Jerusalem occurs when they step inside the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. The site of Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection falls short of the expectations of many Christians accustomed to Western worship.

Gold drips from icons. Chanting fills the spaces. Incense rises between cold stone walls. Six sects of Christendom betray jealous rivalries over the goings-on within. Territorial fistfights even occur on occasion. 

Without proper mental preparation, a Christian pilgrim may see only the distracting depravity of religion that has affixed itself to this site like barnacles on sunken treasure.

But if we look past today’s traditionalism to history’s tradition, we find an unbroken connection to the central event of all time—the redemption of the universe.

For in this place, Jesus Christ died for your sins and rose again.

Next we return to the MT of OLIVES and walk down “disciples path” to DOMINUS FLEVIT, the place where Christ wept over Jerusalem and to the GARDEN OF GETHSEMANE where He prayed.

Dominus Flevit, which translates from Latin as "The Lord Wept", was fashioned in the shape of a teardrop to symbolize the tears of Christ. Here, according to the 19th chapter of the Gospel of Luke, Jesus, while walking toward the city of Jerusalem, becomes overwhelmed by the beauty of the Second Temple and predicting its future destruction, and the diaspora of the Jewish people, weeps openly (an event known as Flevit super illam in Latin language). (Luke 19:37-42)

The site of Christ's weeping was unmarked until the Crusader era. It was during this time that people began commemorating the site. Eventually a small chapel was built there. After the fall of Jerusalem in 1187, the church fell into ruin. In the early sixteenth century a mosque or madrasah existed at the site, presumably built by the Turks, from the remains of the earlier church, although the exact use is disputed. This place was known as el Mansouriyeh (The Triumphant) and also el Khelweh (The Hermitage).

Our reflection on the sufferings of the Savior climax at the GARDEN TOMB with a COMMUNION SERVICE under the olive trees.

Special FAREWELL DINNER at an exclusive Israeli restaurant and then to BEN-GURION Airport for your security check-in and 11:10 P.M. flight to the United States. 

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Israel 2014--Dan Jerusalem; Days 1-2

The following blog is in anticipation of a trip to Israel.
DAY 1 - Leave for our flight to the land of Israel.

DAY 2 - Arrive TEL AVIV and drive to JERUSALEM and around the ancient walls of the cityCheck into the beautiful Dan Jerusalem and have a wonderful meal and get a good night’s rest before the adventure really gets going!

Jerusalem--The most historic city in Jerusalem.

Day 2: We will be staying at the luxurious Hotel Dan in Jerusalem. Our view of Jerusalem is panoramic, being able to see Temple Mount as well as the City of David, the Old City and the rest of Jerusalem.

Jerusalem is believed to first be mentioned in the book of Genesis as Salem, where Melchizedek was King. Salem is commonly known to us as Shalom, or peace. While not all agree that Salem is the same as Jerusalem, the city and the King are mentioned three times in the Bible, in Gen. 14:18, Ps. 76:2, and Heb. 7:1-2.

Above are pictures taken as a panorama of the view outside Hotel Dan in Jerusalem.

Israel 2014--Dan Jerusalem; Day 3

DAY 3 – JERUSALEM- Our morning takes us to the MT OF OLIVES for an overview.

Next we learn about Israel’s history at the ISRAEL MUSEUMvisiting the MODEL OF SECOND TEMPLE JERUSALEM, the SHRINE OF THE BOOK, the museum of the Dead Sea Scrolls, and the ARCHAEOLOGICAL WING with finds that reveal Israel’s past.

We then have a reflective visit to YAD VASHEM, the holocaust memorial.   Return to the to the Dan Jerusalem.

The walls around the Old City of Jerusalem are not from the Biblical day, but are nearly 500 years old, and are built approximately where the original walls existed. In 1967, the Six Day War was a providential victory for Israel, giving access to Israelis access to not only the Old City but Temple Mount, which had been previously forbidden under Jordanian rule. Three/fifths of Jerusalem's 830,000 residents are Jewish (515,000), a little more than a third are Muslim (290,500) and only two percent are Christian (16,600).

Israel 2014 - Temple Mount Day 4

Today we enter the TEMPLE MOUNT, site of the Jewish Temple to walk on the ancient platform and see the Dome of the Rock. The Dome was built between 687 to 691 even though there is no historic evidence that Mohammed ever visited Jerusalem, other than a story of a vision which he supposedly had. Mount Moriah is to where Abraham traveled three days, promising that he and his only beloved son, Isaac, would return, even though Abraham had every intention of sacrificing him to the Lord. Hebrews explains that Abraham believed God would raise Isaac from the dead. See Hebrews 11:17-19, with Genesis 22:1-15. It is here also where 2 Chronicles 3:1 says that Solomon built the temple.

We then visit the WESTERN WALL where you can say a prayer and place a written prayer in the crevices of the wall. Also called the Wailing Wall, it was the only site in which the Jews were allowed to visit on the Temple Mount until the 1967 Six Days War. 

Next we visit the JEWISH QUARTER to see the TEMPLE INSTITUTE, where preparations are being made for a future Temple. The Temple Institute is dedicated to every aspect of the Holy Temple of Jerusalem, and the central role it fulfilled, and will once again fulfill, in the spiritual well-being of both Israel and all the nations of the world. The Institute's work touches upon the history of the Holy Temple's past, an understanding of the present day, and the Divine promise of Israel's future. Activities include education, research, and development. The Temple Institute's ultimate goal is to see Israel rebuild the Holy Temple on Mount Moriah in Jerusalem, in accord with the Biblical commandments.

We will also visit the FIRST TEMPLE MODEL, the BROAD WALL (which is mentioned in in Nehemiah 3:8 and Isaiah 22:9-10and the BURNT HOUSE (an actual excavated house from the 70 AD destruction of Jerusalem). Jesus had prophesied of the fall of Jerusalem in Luke 19:42-44 in which He said, "...For days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment around you, surround you and close you in on every side, and level you, and your children within you, to the ground; and they will not leave in you one stone upon another..."

In the afternoon we explore the TEMPLE MOUNT EXCAVATIONS and see a fulfilled prophecy of our Lord, found in Matthew 24:1-2

Next we walk the WESTERN WALL TUNNEL which allow us to “walk where Jesus walked” on the original street beside the Temple Mount. See verses of where Jesus taught either in or alongside the Temple here

We then will return to the Dan Jerusalem.  

Israel 2014 - Galilee; Day 5

The following descriptions in italics come from the webpage of Wayne Stiles, author of Walking in the Footsteps of Jesus. The photos are mine (Tim McKeown) from 2004.

COASTAL PLAIN/GALILEE – Start the day following the Mediterranean Sea we arrive at CAESAREA, the resort of Roman officials such as Pontius Pilate and prison of the Apostle Paul. 

Herod named the city, “Caesarea,” in honor of Caesar Augustus.
To further ingratiate the Roman ruler, Herod raised a temple for Augustus on the hill above the harbor. You can still see the ruins of the temple today. The site of the ancient harbor is today largely silted and covered with St. Augustine grass.
Herod’s Palace, Where Pilate Lived and Paul was Imprisoned
Herod chose to build his lavish palace in Caesarea on a natural promontory that juts out into the Mediterranean Sea.
  • The king had a freshwater swimming pool carved out of the natural bedrock at the end of his palace; the sprawling pool was almost Olympic in size.
  • Standing on this promontory today allows visitors to see where Herod’s pool once was and to imagine the luxury of Herod’s palace, which the Jewish historian Josephus called, “the most magnificent.”
After the death of Herod the Great in 4 BC, Caesarea became the Roman seat of power in Israel for 500 years. Roman governors, or procurators, resided in Herod’s opulent palace in Caesarea. The Apostle Paul was imprisoned on the grounds of the palace (or “Praetorium”) for two full years (Acts 23:35; 24:37). A sign today marks the likely spot.
The Pontius Pilate Inscription
When an team of Italian archaeologists excavated in Caesarea in 1961, they discovered an inscription with the words translated, “Pontius Pilate, Prefect of Judea.”
  • This archaeological find is the only written source outside of the New Testament that mentions the name, “Pontius Pilate”—the procurator who lived in Caesarea and who condemned Jesus of Nazareth to death.
  • A replica of the inscription stands in Caesarea today, and the original stands on display in the Israel Museum in Jerusalem.
In the Google Street view window below, the Pontius Pilate inscription stands in the foreground and Herod’s Palace is in the background. Use the buttons to explore and look around!
Our next stop is MEGIDDO to tour the ancient site and see the vast Jezreel valley with the name synonymous with Armageddon. 

Tel Megiddo’s tremendous value came from its strategic location as the sentinel of the most important pass through the Mt. Carmel range.

Whoever held Tel Megiddo in the ancient world controlled the traffic and trade along the International Highway to and from Egypt. That meant both military and financial security.

Taking Megiddo is like capturing a thousand cities. —Pharaoh Thutmose III
Its value simply can’t be exaggerated.
Tel Megiddo—Looking Back
Geography doesn’t change.
That’s why Tel Megiddo’s strategic location remained for centuries the envy of all who passed through the land of Israel.
When someone conquered the site, they often would rebuild directly on top of the rubble of the previous inhabitants. It’s no wonder today that Tel Megiddo’s towering ruins offer a stunning view of the Jezreel Valley.
After lunch, we to travel to NAZARETH, Jesus’ childhood home and visit Nazareth village, a recreation of life during the time of Jesus. 

The gospels tell us Nazareth rested on a hill with a formidable precipice (Luke 4:29). From here Jesus cold see the battles of Israel’s history.
The city’s name likely comes from the Hebrew term netzer, meaning “branch” or “shoot.” Some scholars believe this represents the faith of those Jews who returned from exile. Their hope focused on the coming Messiah, the “righteous Branch” of David, promised by the prophet Jeremiah (Jeremiah 23:5; 33:15).
But when He did finally show up, they tried to throw Him over the cliff.
Nazareth Today
Today, the residents of Nazareth represent very distinct people groups.
  • The older part the city includes communities of Christian and Muslim Palestinians.
  • The newer section, called Nazareth Illit (meaning “Upper Nazareth,” as in elevation), serves as the Jewish district.
The modern city has swallowed the ancient one. Ancient ruins are virtually non-existent. 

We then travel to the 2,000 year-old city of TIBERIAS. Overnight at the Caesar Premier hotel situated beside the sea.

A night view of Tiberias, the city, along the sea of Tiberias or Galilee.
The most striking place in Galilee has to be the Sea that bears its name. And the most striking time to see the sea? Sunrise . . . for sure.
Sunrise on the Sea of Galilee flattens all objects into silhouettes and paints the sky a murky red. As the sun peeks over the eastern hills, it draws a line of light from the distant shore straight across the water to wherever you stand—and follows you like a spotlight.
The Sea of Galilee was—and still is—notorious for unexpected storms. A squall in March 1992 sent 10-foot-high waves crashing into downtown Tiberias, causing significant damage.
In the dark, early morning, sometime between 3 and 6 a.m., Jesus came to His disciples by “walking on the sea” (Matt. 14:25; Mark 6:48; John 6:19). But instead of expecting their miracle-working Lord, the dozen on board assumed Jesus was, of all things, a ghost!
A full moon sets just behind Mount Arbel,
perhaps the place where Jesus went to pray
as He sent the disciples on ahead (See Mark 6) 
He comforted them in reply, got in the boat and stilled the storm. Then Mark wrote what has always seemed an unusual line to me: “They were utterly astonished, for they had not gained any insight from the incident of the loaves, but their heart was hardened” (Mark 6:51-52). They hadn’t learned a thing. Consequently, they had no idea what to expect!
If we’re honest, I think we’ll see that we resemble these men. The unrealistic expectations they had, which Jesus revealed, we also store in abundance. We have our agenda for how best to “serve God.” All other events—especially storms—just get in the way.