I was in Israel for a business trip. For most of the week I was near Haifa (on Mount Carmel, which is where Elijah challenged the priests of Baal to see if their Gods were more powerful than his: 1 Kings 18). There was a zoo near my hotel and I took a picture of this sign for my kids. We had fun hearing their guesses for what the different icons meant. It's trickier than you might think - especially the fourth and seventh ones.
Once the week's work was done, I had two days to travel around. One of the first places we went was Old Akko (an old crusader stonghold). The picture below is from inside the dining area for monks who lived there (the knights hospitaller).
After Akko, we traveled down the coast to Caesarea, which at one time was the capital of the Judea province of the Roman empire. The picture below is looking at out the mediterranean sea through some Roman ruins.
Caesarea is pretty amazing. We saw its old hippodrome (place where chariot races were held) and also this roman theater (below) that is still used for concerts today.
From Caesarea we travelled to Jerusalem. I was honored to have the chance to be there. It's an amazing place. The sight of the walls around the old city (below) is impressive. Once inside, you're never far from a huge number of significant sites. I travelled the way of the cross (via dolorosa), visited the western wall, and saw a few other sites as well.
One interesting place for me within old Jerusalem were the pools of Bethesda (John 5:1-9). The site has been excavated out to reveal the ruins of the buildings that would have been there at the time of Christ. The picture below is looking back at the entrance from where one of the pools would have been.
Outside the city, we went to the mount of olives and visited the Garden of Gethsemane (Matthew 26:36-56, John chapters 17 and 18).
The last place we stopped was the garden tomb. It isn't the traditional site of Jesus's crucifixion and burial. That site is within the church of the holy sepulcher, inside Old Jerusalem. We went both places, but I found myself more connected to this site, which is outside the city and has been kept preserved in a way that is meant to preserve the feeling around the original site.
He is not here, for He is risen.
- Matthew 28:6