Blessed are the meek...' Bringing the Bible to life in the Holy Land

Tripoto
20th Jun 2018
Photo of Blessed are the meek...' Bringing the Bible to life in the Holy Land by Smitha Aji
Photo of Jerusalem, Israel by Smitha Aji

My recent two-week FAMILY trip to Israel and jordan has beat out many places for the top spot of the most fascinating place I have ever visited. First day we arrived at Netanyahu. We took a 10 days trip to see all the places in Israel. Straight from the Tel Aviv airport on arrival, we headed to Netanyahu and then Jerusalem.

Photo of Blessed are the meek...' Bringing the Bible to life in the Holy Land by Smitha Aji

Breakfast in the hotel

Drive north along the coast to Caesarea Maritima and the Roman Aquaduct

Photo of Blessed are the meek...' Bringing the Bible to life in the Holy Land by Smitha Aji

This ancient sea port is located on the Mediterranean coast & and was founded early in the 3rd century but really became important about 22 B.C. under Herod the Great. This is a beautiful spot on the Mediterranean Sea.

Caesura is mentioned many times in the Book of Acts (chapters 1,8,9,10,11,12,18,19,21,22,23,etc.) Paul (Saul of Taursus) stopped here on his way to Tarsus and was later imprisoned there. Cornelius and his household members were converted here and became the 1st Gentiles among the body of believers.

Pontius Pilot had a palace here which you can see the foundational remains....even remnants of his indoor fresh water pool. The Mediterranean is overtaking this foundation and is covered over at high tide.

Photo of Blessed are the meek...' Bringing the Bible to life in the Holy Land by Smitha Aji

55 of us walked down to the hippodrome where chariot races took place and our tour group were able to have a wonderful musical worship service here....we sat on the ancient seats where 1000's of people used to sit! We sang, prayed and read the bible together.

Mt. Carmel & the Jezreel Valley overlook

Photo of Blessed are the meek...' Bringing the Bible to life in the Holy Land by Smitha Aji

The Jezreel Valley, also known as the Valley of Megiddo, is a large fertile plain and inland valley in the Northern District of Israel.

Mount Carmel

The prophet Elijah’s fire-lighting challenge — one of the Old Testament’s most spectacular contests between Yahweh, the God of the Israelites, and a pagan deity — took place on the south-eastern summit of Mount Carmel.

Stretching south-east from the Mediterranean Sea, with the city of Haifa sloped against it, Mount Carmel is actually a coastal range rather than a mountain.

From ancient times it was considered a sacred place. It is often cited in the Old Testament for its beauty and fertility.

It is marked by a dramatic stone statue of Elijah, sword raised to heaven as he slaughters a Baal priest, and a small Carmelite monastery, surrounded by a nature reserve.

A superb view takes in the plain of Esdraelon and southern Galilee.

On the plain below is the Kishon brook, where Elijah took the priests of Baal and had them put to death.

Photo of Blessed are the meek...' Bringing the Bible to life in the Holy Land by Smitha Aji
Photo of Blessed are the meek...' Bringing the Bible to life in the Holy Land by Smitha Aji

Cross the Jezreel Valley and ascend to Nazareth

Photo of Blessed are the meek...' Bringing the Bible to life in the Holy Land by Smitha Aji

Next visit we entered the Nazareth marketplace and walked to the synagogue church in the market center

Photo of Blessed are the meek...' Bringing the Bible to life in the Holy Land by Smitha Aji
Photo of Blessed are the meek...' Bringing the Bible to life in the Holy Land by Smitha Aji

Transfer to Ramot

Resort for dinner* and overnight (3N)

Capernaum

The Synagogue was built at the end of the 4th century AD (Late Roman period). In the photo below - the main prayer hall. This building was built from white limestone, which is in contrast with the local black basalt buildings. It had a roof, which stood over the pillars that are seen in the hall.

Photo of Blessed are the meek...' Bringing the Bible to life in the Holy Land by Smitha Aji
Photo of Blessed are the meek...' Bringing the Bible to life in the Holy Land by Smitha Aji
Photo of Blessed are the meek...' Bringing the Bible to life in the Holy Land by Smitha Aji

Mt. of Beatitudes

The Mount of Beatitudes, believed to be the setting for Jesus’ most famous discourse, the Sermon on the Mount, is one of the most beautifully serene places in the Holy Land.

Overlooking the northwestern shore of the Sea of Galilee, it offers an enchanting vista of the northern part of the lake and across to the cliffs of the Golan Heights on the other side.

Photo of Blessed are the meek...' Bringing the Bible to life in the Holy Land by Smitha Aji
Photo of Blessed are the meek...' Bringing the Bible to life in the Holy Land by Smitha Aji

The exact site of the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:1-7:28) is unknown. Pilgrims commemorate the event at the eight-sided Church of the Beatitudes, built on the slope of the mount and accessible by a side road branching off the Tiberias-Rosh Pina highway.

The Mount of Beatitudes is also understood to be the place where Jesus met his apostles after his Resurrection and commissioned them to “make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:16-20).

Peter’s Primacy

We had lunch in the rather aptly named Peter's restaurant where we partook of some very tasty 'Peter's Fish', served with the head on and said to have been the fish that St Peter caught every day.

The Church of the Primacy of St Peter was our next port of call. This is where Jesus appeared to the apostles after his Resurrection. And then a stroll up the hill to the area where He delivered the Beatitudes. It was all coming back to me: "Blessed are the meek…"

Photo of Blessed are the meek...' Bringing the Bible to life in the Holy Land by Smitha Aji
Photo of Blessed are the meek...' Bringing the Bible to life in the Holy Land by Smitha Aji
Photo of Blessed are the meek...' Bringing the Bible to life in the Holy Land by Smitha Aji
Photo of Blessed are the meek...' Bringing the Bible to life in the Holy Land by Smitha Aji

Ancient Boat Museum

The Ancient Galilee Boat, also known as the Jesus Boat, is an ancient fishing boat from the 1st century AD, discovered in 1986 on the north-west shore of the Sea of Galilee in Israel. The remains of the boat, 27 feet (8.27 meters) long, 7.5 feet (2.3 meters) wide and with a maximum preserved height of 4.3 feet (1.3 meters), first appeared during a drought, when the waters of the Sea (actually a great fresh-water lake) receded. Other than the dating, there is no evidence connecting the boat to Jesus or his disciples.

Photo of Blessed are the meek...' Bringing the Bible to life in the Holy Land by Smitha Aji

Boat Ride on Sea of Galilee

Photo of Blessed are the meek...' Bringing the Bible to life in the Holy Land by Smitha Aji

We took a boat ride at the Sea of Galilee

Miracles on the shore

It was around the usually serene waters of the Sea of Galilee that Jesus began his public ministry, teaching in the synagogues and curing the sick. Crowds flocked to him, “for he taught as one having authority, and not as their scribes” (Matthew 7:29).

Photo of Blessed are the meek...' Bringing the Bible to life in the Holy Land by Smitha Aji
Photo of Blessed are the meek...' Bringing the Bible to life in the Holy Land by Smitha Aji

Baptismal service at Yardenit (Jordan River)

Photo of Blessed are the meek...' Bringing the Bible to life in the Holy Land by Smitha Aji
Photo of Blessed are the meek...' Bringing the Bible to life in the Holy Land by Smitha Aji
Photo of Blessed are the meek...' Bringing the Bible to life in the Holy Land by Smitha Aji
Photo of Blessed are the meek...' Bringing the Bible to life in the Holy Land by Smitha Aji

Yardenit is situated on the banks of the Jordan River, at the Southern tip of the Sea of Galilee. Each year we welcome over half a million tourists and pilgrims, who come to experience the tranquility and spiritual beauty of the waters in which Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist. Jesus practiced and preached across this part of the Holy Land which hosts a plethora of sites with biblical significance.

Sunday service on the grounds of Ramot

Caesarea Philippi

Near Caesarea Philippi, a city of Greek-Roman culture known for its worship of foreign gods, Jesus announced he would establish a church and gave authority over it to the apostle Simon — whom he renamed Peter.

When Christ asked, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” it was Simon Peter who was inspired to answer: “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”

In reply, Christ declared: “And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” (Matthew 16:13-20)

Situated 40km north of the Sea of Galilee, the region of Caesarea Philippi was the furthest north Jesus took his disciples.

Photo of Blessed are the meek...' Bringing the Bible to life in the Holy Land by Smitha Aji
Photo of Blessed are the meek...' Bringing the Bible to life in the Holy Land by Smitha Aji

Mt. Bental on the Golan Heights overlooking Syria and the road to damascus

Photo of Blessed are the meek...' Bringing the Bible to life in the Holy Land by Smitha Aji

Olive Oil Factory

Photo of Blessed are the meek...' Bringing the Bible to life in the Holy Land by Smitha Aji

Drive south along Israeli/Jordanian Border to Roman City of Beit She’an

Photo of Blessed are the meek...' Bringing the Bible to life in the Holy Land by Smitha Aji
Photo of Blessed are the meek...' Bringing the Bible to life in the Holy Land by Smitha Aji

Jericho [Ancient tel and lunch stop/included]

Photo of Blessed are the meek...' Bringing the Bible to life in the Holy Land by Smitha Aji

Ascend to Jerusalem

Jaffa Gate to the Western Wall Plaza

Photo of Blessed are the meek...' Bringing the Bible to life in the Holy Land by Smitha Aji
Photo of Blessed are the meek...' Bringing the Bible to life in the Holy Land by Smitha Aji

Mahane Yehuda Market

Photo of Blessed are the meek...' Bringing the Bible to life in the Holy Land by Smitha Aji

Bethlehem

Photo of Blessed are the meek...' Bringing the Bible to life in the Holy Land by Smitha Aji
Photo of Blessed are the meek...' Bringing the Bible to life in the Holy Land by Smitha Aji

The Church of the Nativity is home to the birthplace of Jesus

For me Jerusalem was the highlight. It's a busy multi-cultural city with so much history. The old city goes back more than 3,000 years and is divided into four different quarters, Christian, Jewish, Muslim and Armenian. The old cobbled streets are packed with stalls, shops and cafés all vying rather enthusiastically for business, but it's a great place to sit with a coffee and some of their sweet bread and absorb the atmosphere

Photo of Blessed are the meek...' Bringing the Bible to life in the Holy Land by Smitha Aji

Holy Sepulchre

The Church of the Holy Sepulchre is considered to be the most important in Biblical history. It's built around the site where Jesus was crucified and contains the Tomb of Christ. A piece of marble covers the spot which is enshrined in a rather ornate edifice.

Photo of Blessed are the meek...' Bringing the Bible to life in the Holy Land by Smitha Aji
Photo of Blessed are the meek...' Bringing the Bible to life in the Holy Land by Smitha Aji

City of David

Photo of Blessed are the meek...' Bringing the Bible to life in the Holy Land by Smitha Aji

Garden of Gethsemane (private garden for teaching)

The garden of Gethsemane, near the foot of the Mount of Olives, is named in the New Testament as the place where Jesus went with his disciples to pray the night before he was crucified.

The garden, about 1200 square metres in area, was well known to the disciples as it is close to the natural route from the Temple to the summit of the Mount of Olives and the ridge leading to Bethany.

The name in Hebrew means “oil press”. Oil is still pressed from the fruit of eight ancient and gnarled olive trees that give the garden a timeless character.

Beside the garden is the Church of All Nations, built over the rock on which Jesus is believed to have prayed in agony before he was betrayed by Judas Iscariot and arrested.

Photo of Blessed are the meek...' Bringing the Bible to life in the Holy Land by Smitha Aji
Photo of Blessed are the meek...' Bringing the Bible to life in the Holy Land by Smitha Aji
Photo of Blessed are the meek...' Bringing the Bible to life in the Holy Land by Smitha Aji

Private tour through Garden Tomb; communion

For over 120 years, the Garden Tomb has shared the story of the Messiah’s crucifixion and resurrection with countless visitors from across the globe. Some believe that this garden is the setting of those gospel events. However, the question as to whether this is the same tomb in which the Messiah was buried is ultimately unimportant. What is important is that visitors to this garden have an encounter with the living Messiah today.

Photo of Blessed are the meek...' Bringing the Bible to life in the Holy Land by Smitha Aji
Photo of Blessed are the meek...' Bringing the Bible to life in the Holy Land by Smitha Aji

Conclusion Picture

Photo of Blessed are the meek...' Bringing the Bible to life in the Holy Land by Smitha Aji

I loved the people, the food, the vibes. It’s 5,000 years old and the history dating from Alexander the Great, Cleopatra, and Napoleon makes for incredible stories.

This is a land that many people want to claim, and it’s as small as New Jersey. Because of the history, the monuments, the things that have happened here make this a holy and sacred place to many religions.

This is where Jesus was believed to be crucified on the cross and buried, only to rise again (at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre), it’s where he walked on water at the Sea of Galilee, and the Dead Sea is accessible from here. The seaside cities have surfer vibes and Tel Aviv is referred to as the Mediterranean Berlin because of it’s edgy laid back vibe and party scene.

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