Wow - I finally seem to have come up against a size limit for a post here on TypePad! So, here's the second part of my post about Day 2 of our Israel tour... (part one is here)
Megiddo, as you might guess, overlooks the Valley of Armageddon - which is actually the Valley of Jezreel. "Armageddon" is really a derivation of "har Megiddo" or, "high Megiddo."It's view of the Jezreel Valley is quite impressive, rivaling even that from Mt. Carmel. Megiddo was also place so that, while its sentries probably had a view of 20 miles or so, invaders would only be able to see the town once they were within 5 miles of it.
The city was very influential for a while because it sat at the crossroads of major trade routes. Caravans would stop to sell and buy goods, and would pay the taxes demanded by various kingdoms in the area. However, when Alexander the Great came through and conquered and united the area under his rule ca. 333BC, the taxation system for traders broke down, and Megiddo fell into ruin. Megiddo has 27 strata, which makes it a very rich site for archaeological investigation. (More information here and here)
There is also an ancient water system there, and the majority of the group went down into it. It was quite a steep and long way down (less so on the way up, because you came out more on the bottom slope of the tel), and many of us - me included! - had aching thighs for DAYS afterwards, LOL!
After Megiddo, we traveled to Nazareth, which was where Jesus was raised and where He lived His life before His baptism. We went up to the "Brow of Nazareth," which is a cliff face about a kilometer outside of town, and which really brought home to me the lesson in Luke 4:
So all those in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with wrath, and rose up and thrust Him out of the city; and they led Him to the brow of the hill on which their city was built, that they might throw Him down over the cliff. (that's just vv 28 and 29; read the whole thing at the link)
That was a SERIOUS cliff they wanted to throw Him off! It's interesting to note that the villagers must have been really angry for them to have dragged Him a kilometer out of town just so they could throw Him to His death! The John MacArthy Study Bible I have suggests that they were extremely upset because Jesus effectively said (did you read the whole thing at the link I gave?) that salvation would be extended to the Gentiles rather than the Jews because of their unbelief.
(BTW, that's Pastor Jim, trying to figure out Fabrizio's portable speaker-thingy [which was VERY useful!], and his son-in-law, Danny [wonderful guy] with him.)
After Nazareth, we went up to Cana (John 2:1-11, anyone?), and many couples in our group renewed their wedding vows. It was a beautiful church, and just as our group was finishing up in the courtyard, another wedding party set up their reception line. It was a bit crazy; that church is very busy with weddings, as you might imagine, so it was a squeeze! The little flower girls were just the cutest things, though, and so adorable - I wanted to take a picture, but thought it wouldn't be wise since they were just little girls...
And YAY! I finally got this posted, even if it took me entirely too long... Now let's see if I can do Day 3 and get it (or part of it; it was another busy day) up tomorrow!