Herod’s aqueduct in Caesarea was our first stop this morning, for a very quick group photo.
Our program at Kibbutz Beth-El was wonderful. When we arrived, the hospitable Germans served coffee, tea, bread and cookies, then Daniel gave us some history and showed a presentation about what they do on the kibbutz and the things they manufacture. They raise most of their own food, including wheat, fruit, milk & milk products, olives, and vegetables. They have their own school from kindergarten through twelfth grade. They preserve kosher food and hope to export to Jewish communities in other countries. The first immigrants came from Germany with a mission to do something to help ease the pain of what happened during the holocaust, and it was very tough at the beginning to gain the trust of the Jewish people. They are doing a wonderful work in providing technical jobs and training. They make air purification systems, hydraulic parts for airplanes, and down comforters and pillows.
Mount Carmel has an amazing view of the Jezreel valley from the top. The story of Elijah’s competition with the Baal prophets became as Leonard read it to us while we were at the very place that it took place. Elijah was a passionate man! Three miles up the mountain, builds an altar, butchers a bull, takes the 400 prophets of Baal four miles away and kills them all, hikes back up the mountain four miles, prays seven times, hikes down the mountain another three miles, then runs ahead of Ahab’s chariot for seventeen miles! All in one day! But the next day he was empty and he ran away from one woman. Doesn’t that happen to us sometimes. We need to ask God to fill us again when we become empty. Joe challenged us to go home and make disciples like Elijah did. Disciples that have the chutzpah to ask for a double portion of their rabbi’s spirit; and receive it. Elisha performed twice as many miracles as Elijah did, and he had a whole school of disciples, not just one.
Nazareth village is a wonderful place to get a mind picture of the village that Jesus lived in. These people did a great job of building a village out of materials that would have been available at that time. A vineyard, watchtower, and wine press that date back to the time of Jesus are located on the property.
Now the highlight of the day! Our concert at Penial Messianic church was the best one yet. Earlier in the day, Leonard had a devotional about “Praying without ceasing”, and I think many prayers ascended to God. We felt at one with the audience, and the songs were ministering to our hearts as we sang. I think we are beginning to realize how important the Jewish people are to our faith. Were it not for them, we would have no Bible and no Savior. We as Gentiles are grafted into the root of the Jews. After we were done singing, the pastor asked his congregation to stand and pray the Hebrew blessing over us. They all stood with raised arms, singing this blessing. It was a beautiful moment, and we will all remember it with joy.