I’m relaxing on the patio overlooking the Sea of Galilee. Birds are singing as the sun sets. The water is absolutely calm, and the colors are a delicate pastel.
After breakfast this morning at the Pilgerhaus, our guide Tony took us to the archeological site at Megiddo, where he told us there are 30 layers of excavations. The hilltop is Tel Meggido, a human-made hill, because of the millenia of habitation on that site. One group of people after another defended the location overlooking the Via Maris…the historic trade route from Africa to the East … then they were defeated, and another group built on the spot. Archaeologists have evidence of stables and gates that they think are from the time of Solomon and Ahab after him. We climbed to the top of the Tel, seeing a circular spot that people who didn’t worship the God of Israel made infant sacrifices … we were reminded of the story of Elijah and Ahab. Then we climbed deep into the excavation, into a tunnel where water flowed into Megiddo from a spring.
We drove from Megiddo to Nazareth where we prayed and sang at the Basilica of the Annunciation. This modern church commemorates the angel’s announcement to Mary that God has chosen her to bear a child and her agreement. At the center of the lower level is a cave that has been revered as “the place.” When I went to that area, a Roman Catholic bishop was leading a service of vow renewal for a group of nuns … all from the Philippines. When they finished, I talked with them, congratulating them. The bishop removed his vestments and looked like any other pilgrim.
After gathering with our group in the tiny Synagogue Church, we had lunch then went to Cana. There’s a small church there that commemorates Jesus and the wedding. The wine tasting at a nearby shop was fun and tasty. Pomegranate wine (which our guide suggests has medicinal purposes) is quite tart.
Tomorrow we leave this wonderful place for the next step of our journey. ..on to Jericho, the Jordan River, Qumran, and the Dead Sea.