Nazareth Hills from Mt. Carmel
Climbing Mt. Carmel allowed us this view of the Nazareth hills. This is the range of hills with some white on the horizon, from the center to the left. Mt. Carmel was where Elijah called down fire from the sky to burn up the sacrifice on the altar (1 Kings 18:19, 38). View the map next to see these locations.
Milestones indicated how far to go to the main destination. It probably took most pilgrims about a week to walk from Galilee to Jerusalem since they usually avoided Samaria.
Also note where the Caesarea Maritima aqueduct is (the next picture).
Roman City Aqueduct
Caesarea Maritima was a secular, Roman city in Jesus’ day. It had a hippodrome and “plumbing,” which was advanced technology for that time. The city was built above a grid of tunnels that seems to have been washed daily with the tide, keeping the city smelling cleaner than almost every other Roman city at that time. Conscientious Jews wouldn’t have anything to do with a city like this if they could help it. But the aqueduct in the below picture was 7 km long and used during Jesus’ time to carry water from the northeast.
On the other hand, we don’t know what swimming was like around Caesarea Maritima…
What Local Tour Guides say and the Truth
Local tour guides in Israel will usually tell you “this is where that happened in the Bible” with unquestioning certainty. Generally, it sells better to say that, and local tourist industries profit from this kind of publicity. But a Christian archaeologist explained to me that it’s usually complicated to trace the certainty of where these places are located. Some places are more certainly the true location than others, and this place—this cobblestone road in Nazareth—is more certain that Jesus was here.
The staircase inside the Church of Annunciation, however, is another story. See this YouTube link for verification of this.
What is an Insula?
An “insula” is a compound where extended families lived in ancient times. Grandparents typically lived with children, grandchildren and possibly great-grandchildren. The size of an insula didn’t indicate how rich the family was, because they could’ve just crammed more people into that same insula.
When a man was to get married, he would build a room onto the insula, then bring his wife to live with him and his parents, grandparents, etc. And since this was what everyone did, Jesus used it to illustrate the home he has gone to prepare for us, his bride, in John 14:2-3. “In my Father’s house are many rooms…and if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.”
What are Mikvahs and Where are the Beggers?
Mikvahs were much like hot tubs except they were only used for ritual cleansing. These mikvahs were on the south side of the temple mount, where archaeological digging still reveals evidence of them today. The Jews had to go into them for ritual cleansing before going up into the temple.
Outside were the beggars, believed to be unclean because why else would they be born blind, maimed, lame, deaf and mute, etc. (cp. John 9:2)? Beggars were perpetually unclean because they were “born in sin,” so they would beg outside the ritual cleansing places. There, outside the mikvahs, they could obtain mercy from fellow Jews who might accidentally touch them while giving their alms but were about to be ritually cleansed anyway.
This picture is where the mikvahs were in the 1st century model of Jerusalem.
Roman Corruption – Toilets
In Caesarea Maritima these toilets are found in the entrance to the hippodrome, showing how depraved the Romans were, since they didn’t need any privacy to do their business.
Roman Corruption – Entertainment
At the Caesarea Maritima amphitheater, further proof of how depraved the Romans were: this is where they kept the animals that were to devour the Christians being persecuted, or other prisoners.
Model of First Century Jerusalem
I was more interested in picturing ancient Israel than I was in the churches built on holy sites. This model enabled our Christian archaeologist to explain where things were from stories in the Bible. This view of first-century Jerusalem has the Pool of Siloam in the foreground, and the south side of the temple mount in the background.
See also more pictures at:
Changes for my website
Praise the Lord! My students finished helping me with the latest technology and now I’ll be busy all summer with improving my presentations and organizing my material to significantly improve your experience here. If you want to keep tabs on the latest edits, check out the bottom of my blog index.
- Putting out a Fleece, Casting Lots, and Choosing that Hill to Die on February 24, 2020
- False Humility in the NT, Apocrypha, and Pseudepigrapha, Part 3 of 3 February 17, 2020
- False Humility in the NT, Apocrypha, and Pseudepigrapha, Part 2 of 3 February 10, 2020
- False Humility in the NT, Apocrypha, and Pseudepigrapha, Part 1 of 3 February 3, 2020
- Christ’s Temptation as our Inspiration January 26, 2020
– View previous posts –
My Plans for Blogging
My story of forgiveness and healing is quite unrelated to envisioning the Bible world. But since our world is sin and pain infested, I suspect many will want to hear more about my personal experience. I anticipate writing a couple of blogs about this, but mostly I’ll focus on envisioning the Bible world.
Heather, Christmas 2021
Plans for Improved Website:
The following documentary links are gradually going to disappear from here this summer, appearing instead under the menu option “Tour Israel.” There, I’ll cover more introduction and pictures to the areas these links cover.