When I imagined going to Israel, I really thought I was going to the desert. I expected camels, sand, and plam trees. I was not expecting a country so chock-full of different climates and topography that you could go cross-eyed just looking out the window of your car.
I mean, would you look at that to the left?! It looks like Mexico, for crying out loud! This is Caesaria maritime, where Paul stood trial and famously said, “I appeal to Caesar”.
Isn’t it beautiful, though? The water is so clear I honestly would have thought we were in the Caribbean if I didn’t know any better. Israel is so cool because you can go as far back in history as the book of Exodus all the way to the distant-maybe-not-so-distant-no-one-really-knows future:
This is us standing on a hill in Nazareth looking out over Megiddo (a.k.a. where it’s all going down during the Apocalypse). It’s so green and not desert-y! It’s this gigantic valley where all the armies of the world will someday meet up. Napoleon once remarked after looking out at this valley that it was the most perfect battlefield he’d ever seen.
As you can see, the Israeli people are putting the land to beautiful good use in the meantime.
…What? You don’t believe me?! We took a picture! This, my friends, is the Gates of Hell.
This was taken at a place called Banias. There used to be a Greek temple there and the Greeks threw sacrifices into this cave. They called it the Gates of Hell because over to the right in the cave is a very deep hole that goes all the way down to the headwaters of the Jordan River. The Greeks believed that if the water that flowed out of the ground was bloody the day after a sacrifice the gods were pleased with the sacrifice. They were, however, out of luck in regards to having non-bloody water to drink for the rest of the day.
I guess it gives new meaning to the phrase, “The sweet taste of success”.