Twenty-six people traveling with Campbell University Divinity School and Nurturing Faith Experiences are enjoying the beautiful hills and wildflowers of Galilee. Vicarious travelers are welcome to join us.
We arrived late in the day on Sunday, so we spent the first night in the coastal city of Hadera before beginning our tour in Caesarea Maritima on Monday morning. Jan Jernigan led our devotion there, reminding us of how Paul was held prisoner in Caesarea for some time before appealing his case to Rome.
From Caesarea we drove to Megiddo, where we were treated to a private tour of the site by archaeologist Norma Franklin, who excavated there for 19 years with Tel Aviv University. Megiddo is a particularly complex site, and Norma’s expertise was welcome.
We next visited Sepphoris (now Zippori), the largest city in the Galilee during the time of Jesus. Sepphoris was a Roman city and is not mentioned in the Bible, but it is only a few miles north of Nazareth. As a wealthy and booming city, it was just the sort of place that a carpenter/builder might have found work as Jesus was growing into adulthood.
We visited no only palatial villas, but also what remains of a beautiful fifth-century synagogue whose impressive mosaic floor included a zodiac — one of several synagogues in the Galilee that included Hellenistic features in its design.
We drove into Nazareth for a visit to the Church of the Annunciation, where images of the Madonna donated by Catholics from all over the world can be found. The modern church was built over an old Byzantine Church that in turn was built over a cave where Mary supposedly lived, according to an early tradition, and was first visited by an angel announcing Jesus’ birth.
We closed the day by the Sea of Galilee with a time of sharing and then rest. For Tuesday the northernmost parts of the Galilee await!