Israel -Part 1

Travel

A few weeks back, Brandon and I traveled to Israel with my in-laws and 40 other amazing Christ followers.  I don’t even know where or how to begin describing it because everything was absolutely amazing! We went for 14 days.  10 of those were tour days and one was a free travel day which I will dive into on a later post. We had no idea what to expect when traveling to the Holy Land.  For months, we studied the Bible, followed blogs, watched travel shows, obsessed over pictures on Pinterest, and everything else you can imagine to prepare for our journey.

When it finally came time for us to leave, it took us almost an entire day to travel to Tel Aviv from the States.   The first night in Israel, we traveled out to Herzilya, a beautiful port city on the Mediterranean coastline. We stayed at Herod’s Hotel, which you can see its beauty in the pic below.  Our first meal together as a whole group was a Shabbat dinner here, and it was an all-you-can-eat spread of amazingness, including the best pulled lamb of the trip, and the largest dessert table I have ever seen.

Day 2, was the start of our guided tours.  We headed towards Tiberias, a city on the Sea of Galilee.  On the way we stopped at Ceasarea Maritima, built by Herod the Great.  The water here was so blue and vibrant. From here, we headed to the top of Mt. Carmel to take a glimpse of Megiddo Valley,  which is the known “Armageddon Valley. This was one of my favorite views in all of Israel. For the valley of the “last battle”,  it is breathtakingly beautiful and peaceful.

The 2nd day of touring was AMAZING!  We visited some of the locations where Jesus taught and performed miracles.   We started off in Nazareth, at the Church of Annunciation, where it is believed that Gabriel announced the birth of Jesus to Mary.  The detail in the design of this church was pretty spectacular..(make sure you check out the images in the slideshow at the top, especially the entry door!)  Our tour guide was able to get us access into an old synagogue with stone flooring dated back to Jesus’ time…YES for real, we stood on the very stones that Jesus may have stood and taught.  We took our shoes off so our feet could touch the stones while we worshiped, prayed, and listened to a short teaching. It was definitely a spiritual highlight from the trip and one of our favorite moments.

A little side note, the man that let us into the synagogue had the most spectacular mustache I have ever seen…he even let me take a picture of it,  so your welcome!

After a short time of worship, we left the synagogue and headed to the cliffs of Nazareth where the townspeople took Jesus and tried to throw him off of the cliffs. This is the location of one of the first miracles recorded in the bible!

Luke 4:28 All the people in the synagogue were furious when they heard this. 29 They got up, drove him out of the town, and took him to the brow of the hill on which the town was built, in order to throw him down the cliff. 30 But he walked right through the crowd and went on his way.

We headed to Capernaum, the ruins of another small village on the Sea of Galilee where Jesus served and taught.   The lake view from here is gorgeous. There is a large rock beach where we spent some time in reflection and prayer.  We gazed out at the view, skipped some rocks, and tried to take everything in as much as possible. The weather was PERFECT the entire time we were there, (we totally lucked out).  But, because it was so warm, there was a haze across the lake which brought a sense of serenity to it. Around sunset, we boarded a boat and rode across the Sea of Galilee. The water was calm, the sun was setting over the hazy water, birds were flying and singing, and we were praising our Lord.  It was the perfect ending to a powerful day.

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