I time-travelled today. Actually, I time travel all the time, but usually at a rate of one second a second. Today was different.
First, we travelled back in time 2000 years to a place called Nazareth Village. This is actually a historical and archaeological re-enactment of a first century Jewish Village. The owners have taken great pains to ensure its accuracy, consulting with many scholars and archeologists.
I loved this. Nazareth itself is a modern city of 70,000 people and has absolutely no resemblance to a anything you might picture as Jesus’ village. We did go to the ancient well (now called Mary’s well) that would have served as the focal point of the village back in the day, but it is only a concrete monument with some arabic graffiti.
So I was really glad we had a chance to go to Nazareth Village. The guide led us first to a man plowing a field as was done in the first century.
We also got to see a sheep pen and talk with a shepherd.
They also had a small group of houses reconstructed according the the times, a family tomb, a watchtower and a working olive oil press.
A first century synagogue has also been re-constructed.
As the group went ahead, I stayed back for a while, trying to imagine what Jesus saw when he woke up each morning, and wondering anew that the Lord of all creation took on flesh and blood and dwelled here among us.
For lunch we stopped at an small shop that Jacob (our guide) told us served the best falafel in Israel. Not being an experienced falafel eater, I will have to take his word on that; but it was excellent. The baklava we bought at the arab bakery across the street was outstanding.
After lunch we headed to a very ancient city called Megiddo. It has 26 layers of civilizations, dated back almost 9,000 years. It reached its zenith of power under Solomon, who made it a fortified treasure city, and installed upgraded walls and massive, three-chambered gates. In the book of Revelation (16:16) this is described as the place where the final battle takes place (the Greek spelling is Armageddon).
It was shortly after Solomon that a large tunnel was dug from inside the city walls to a spring outside the walls. We walked down into the place where thousands of years ago the tunnelers, with only dead reckoning, dug from both ends and connected in the middle.
Megiddo is an active archeological dig, and will reveal much more. Here are some more pics.