Tiberias to Jerusalem
Breakfast at Mount Tabor
The bottom of Mount Tabor is a village called, you guessed it, Tabor. They have another coffee shop chain called Cafe Café and it is also very good with good coffee and enormous breakfast that we have finally learned to split. No wonder Starbucks couldn’t make it here.
Although there is some dispute, most people think that the Transfiguration of Jesus occurred on Mount Tabor. As usual there is a Franciscan Catholic Church plopped on the site where people think it happened. In fact there is a Franciscan Catholic Church plopped on every significant site around Israel. Most sites it turns out, we’re originally designated by queen Helen the mother of Emperor Constantine. If you don’t remember the Constantine was the first Roman emperor to convert to Christianity. Some of the sites makes sense archaeologically. Some seem to be completely made up. It’s just amazing to realize that most of these spots had a Byzantine church built on them back in three or 400 A.D. by Constantine and then were destroyed and then later a crusader church built on them in the 12 or 1300s, and then destroyed and then a modern Franciscan church built on top of that. Next to the church of the transfiguration there is the ruins of an an older church done in white marble that is nearby there is a nice garden and there is a spectacular view of the sea of Galilee. It is the first place where I felt a spiritual connection and we enjoyed this site quite a bit. The drive up was winding with switchbacks. There were taxis shooting down the narrow road while we were coming up. Some of my passengers found this deeply distressing. Personally I thought it was kind of fun. Evil grin. The mystery sixth person is our guide Leah
As the thermometer continue to climb, we drove onto a archaeological site like I’ve never seen. This was the city of Beit Shean,Which is on the made a trade route from Egypt to Mesopotamia it was a very influential city. Consequently it was built by first to Greeks, then the Romans, then the Byzantines. But before all that, I just thought that King Saul had a palace on the top of the hill and also before that perhaps the Egyptians had a settlement they’re all due to the incredible location on the trade route. The exposed architecture now is that of a spectacular Roman city. King Saul’s house being on top of the hill of course we had to climb the steps. I don’t think I have been this close to heat stroke ever. It’s 100° but it makes up for it by being very humid here.
On the way out of the archaeological dig, there was a falafel stand. I actually thought I didn’t like falafel, but in the US it seems I have always had it over Fried and dried out. When done correctly, it’s delicious. We also learned that falafel could be just the fried balls of chickpeas with spices , Or it could mean a falafel sandwich. Falafel sandwich is in a pita and this one had french fries some sort of pickled lemon, and various sauces and …. of course…hummous. Incredibly flavorful and delicious. A falafel sandwich is called… Falafel. Saying a falafel sandwiches like saying a burger sandwich
We then headed back east a little bit and down the Jordan River into the West Bank. We passed the city of Jericho and were told that the ruins there don’t really show much. So we headed down to the site that Jesus was likely baptized. This is also the spot where the Israelites likely passed into the promised land for the first time. Probably not an accident that they baptize Jesus here. It’s still 100°. There is a monastery built up in the side of a cliff that is on the edge of the mountain of Tim Tatian. It is thought that it was here that Jesus was led by Satan to be tempted. It’s amazingly close there is desert everywhere so it wasn’t hard to get Jesus out into the desert.
Up to Jerusalem
From a Jericho it is a straight shot east up to Jerusalem. It is a big climb. In the car we read from the songs of ascent that are in the Psalms that the Israelites would sing as they went up to Jerusalem. Very cool.