January 15 – Travel day. Lots of anxiety. Lots of excitement. Lots of hurry-up and wait. All the plans to sleep well on the plane – were just that plans. It was very hard to get comfortable for more than a short time – an hour max at a time. Food was enough for basic nourishment but nothing more than that. Impressions at this point are from the seat!
January 16 – landed at 9:00 am. Got off the plane and it was so good to stand and walk. Passport control was very easy – no problems. Bags were waiting and walked strait through nothing to declare customs. We were on the tour bus, on the road, in less than an hour from landing. First impressions – I’ve never been to a place where I didn’t even have a basic understanding of the alphabet. Certainly out of my comfort zone. The difference in security around the terminal – thick concrete barriers and very sturdy metal fences not chain link.
As we exited the terminal and got on the bus it was a Mercedes. Don’t know why that struck me but it did! As we make our way from Tel Aviv to Caesarea the basic geography looks a lot like my childhood home in California. Eucalyptus trees, mountains in the distance and palm trees.
I’m getting my first glimpse of the water of the Mediterranean Sea. I think about the number of times my father has been here. Except he was on a very different kind of tour. He wasn’t sitting on a Mercedes Bus he was sitting on an aircraft carrier. Still far from home and kids.
Caesarea was windy, cold and beautiful. History coming alive when you touch stones that are more than 2000 years old. When you walk the path of those you’ve never met only studied the connection is stronger yet. We leave Caesarea with pictures, memories and better understandings of the sacred texts.
Mt. Carmel lunch at a Druse family’s Coffee Bar & Restaurant. We had a choice of either a falafel or schnitzel in a pita with all you can eat salad. Salad isn’t just some romaine lettuce and tomato but colorful platters of peppers, tomatoes, carrots, cucumbers with spices, olives and mushrooms.
Heading to the monastery on top of Mt Carmel home of the Carmelites. Can’t help but think of Dr. Roberta Bondi, who when I asked her who they were she responded with nuns who eat carmels.
Our guide Miche tells us a lot. While standing on Mt. Carmel he told us that we miss a lot with the Hebrew names and some we just get plain wrong. For instance we say Elijah but it’s closer to Eli-Jehovah meaning ‘s my God is Jehovah or my God saves. Jezebel isn’t just a name but it Jeza- bel meaning the princess of bel. Names matter in Hebrew.
The view from Mt Carmel is spectacular! While surveying the land Miche shared that Moses – brings the law and Elijah – brings the spirit of the law. When Jesus was
baptized in the Jordan between where Moses & Elijah were he was really fulfilling the law. It struck me in such a profound way when looking at the physical space.
Our final stop before the hotel and much needed shower and rest was Meggido. What I learned is that I really need to learn more about Meggido and that they were incredible engineers. They developed an incredible water system. The women of the town went down every day outside the walls to get the water. It was a hike. I remarked to the Bishop that I would not have been a good woman in that time. She reminded the group and in turn me that there are women in developing countries such as Somalia or Sudan that still carry water and are at risk for rape or even death to provide their children fresh drinking water. We are very blessed!
About to meet with the group to discuss our day and eat dinner. I already took a shower and am looking forward to bed shortly after dinner is over. Thank you for all the prayers they have made such a difference.