It seemed our visit to Nazareth ended so quickly as we boarded the bus this morning. We drove past many beautiful progressive Israeli farms with rolling high hills and green valleys to our first stop at Zippori National Park, in Western lower Galilee.
Here we viewed the remains of the ancient city ( 103 BC) of Zippori. When the Roman army conquered the city ( 63 BC) it was renamed Diocaesarea and during the crusades it was changed to Sepphoris. Archeological excavations were begun in 1931 and they continue. Some of the interesting sites were the 1st BC Roman aqueduct with a massive reservoir for the city’s water supply and a mansion of GrecoRoman style. This possibly was the home of Mary’s parents.
The Lavi Kibbutz was our next stop where we were given a guided tour by Mordechai. This Kibbutz was founded in 1949 and has 170 families living cooperatively. We learned about the daily life of this community and had a most abundant lunch in their guest dining room.
The sun was blazing hot as we traveled to the Cliffs of Arbel, 3500 feet above sea level. We slowly plodded up the path until we viewed the cliffs, the village below and the first panoramic view of the Sea of Galilee. After some time for reflection here we returned to our bus for a ride into Tiberias and ended our day with a boat ride on the Sea. While the boat rocked in the waves, the story of Jesus and his disciples fishing was read to us. We were directed to the other side of the sea where Jesus walked and worked. Our imaginations are ignited by being in this place this evening, in a YMCA hotel at the seaside.
Janet Gerber (for the group)
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