|The people on my bus on the site of Herod's palace at Caesarea Maritima|
We have two groups for the Israel leg of our tour. Dan Peterson of BYU's Arabic department is the "headliner" on the first bus, and I am on the second bus. We each have a Palestinian driver and, as law requires, an licensed guide. Our driver is named from Bethlehem and is named "Johnny." Our guide is from Bayt Hainina, an Palestinian neighborhood in the north part of East Jerusalem and is named "Victor." I am pretty sure that these are just work names that are easier for foreign tourists to pronounce.
After driving by Old Jaffa see yesterday's post), we had our bus devotional, offered by a friend of mine from Philadelphia. Every day one of our group shares a scripture and a thought, we then sing, and the person doing the devotional offers our morning prayer. We then drove north to the site of ancient Caesarea Maritima, or "the town-named-in-honor-of-Caesar-on-the-sea." The coast of ancient Judea had precious few ports, so Herod the Great began an ambitious project to build an artificial port, a Roman-style city, and a handsome palace for himself on an artificial peninsula that extended into the sea. While he ruled from Jerusalem, he might have preferred his time in Caesarea, where he could "let down his hair" and live more like a Gentile.
|Artist's rendition of Herod's new city and port|
|Victor speaking at the Roman theater|
|I spoke about the death of Herod Agrippa I after his hybris in this theater (see Acts 12)|
|Leading our devotional in the audience hall of Herod's Palace, where Festus and Agrippa II may have heard Paul's case|
|The hippodrome or "racetrack"|
|In front of the statue of Elijah, who is depicted slaying a priest of Ba`al|
|Teaching at Muhraqa about Elijah|
|Our group after coming out of the Basilica of the Annunciation|
|Sharing my feelings about Mary and Joseph|
We ended our long day by driving up to Mount Precipice, where I made up the Nazareth synagogue scene of Luke 4 (we had gotten their too late to go to the so-called "Synagogue Church"). Then I talked about the Transfiguration from all three Synoptics before I had us sing “We’re Not Ashamed to Own Our Lord,” which has some stirring verses about the second coming.