Day #9 of our Epic Trip to Italy and Israel with the Museum of the Bible was a very exciting day — because it was our last full day in Israel. I was excited about what we had planned for the day… but mostly, if I’m being honest, I was excited about being home. I had missed my family so, so much!
We started the day by going to Nazareth Village. While it didn’t seem impressive from the outset, I quickly fell in love with this place.
Here’s more about what Nazareth Village is:
A first-century farm and village presenting the life, times and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth for all the world.
Two thousand years after the birth of Jesus, Nazareth Village opened its doors to visitors. Nazareth Village is located on a site that was remarkably untouched and unchanged since Jesus time. In fact, Nazareth Village preserves the last remaining fields worked by Jesus’ friends, family and fellow villagers.
The surrounding terraces and farm features did exist in Jesus’ time. Today, Nazareth Village features a carefully researched re-creation of Jesus hometown. The original farm has been restored with olive trees, terraces, ancient wine press, irrigation system and stone quarry. Exact replicas of first century houses, synagogue, mikveh and olive presses have been carefully built using the same methods that would have been used by Joseph the carpenter. The scenes are brought to life as “Villagers” populate the farm and houses, living and working with the same type of clothing, pottery, tools and methods that Mary and Jesus would have used.
Pilgrims to the Holy Land usually only see the dead stones of ancient ruins. And yet, the geographical and cultural nuances of Jesus’ teaching are often crucial for understanding his full meaning. At Nazareth Village, visitors can experience how a first-century audience heard and was impacted by Jesus’ words. Gifted and knowledgeable guides take visitors through a living representation of the parables. Visitors step into life as it was in the time of Jesus and learn from his parables in the context in which they were created.
I loved seeing the re-created olive press and hearing more about the three difference presses that olives went through to make olive oil. The oil was what was most valuable about olives, but it could only be obtained through putting immense pressure on the olives — splitting and breaking them so that they no longer resembled olives.
Olives would be put through the press three different times. The first press was the best oil and that’s what they would give to God. The second press was what they would use themselves. The last press would be the oil they would use for lighting their lamps.
It gave so much new significance to how we are to live our lives as Christians — completely poured out for God and others.
After we went through Nazareth Village, they had tables set up with a fresh snack for us. And it was SO good!
We had fresh fire-baked flat bread, Za’atar dip (ground hyssop, sesame seeds, and olive oil), Hummus dip, olives, and herbal tea. Yum! It was especially fun because they were making it in the traditional methods right there in front of us. I wanted to just sit there and watch them make it and keep eating it as the bread came off the fire!
I have fallen fast in love with the Israeli food! In fact, as soon as I got back, we had to find a local Mediterranean restaurant so I could eat these foods regularly and introduce my family to them!
Speaking of food, after we went to Nazareth Village, then we drove for a ways and stopped to get some Shawarma at a local restaurant. It reminded me of Subway… only Israeli style. 🙂
After lunch, we drove to Caesarea and saw the Roman theater and all of the ruins there. It was amazing, overwhelming, beautiful, and c-o-l-d!
Then we headed to a local school that is using really cool technology from Museum of the Bible to teach the students their Bible classes. The school was SO excited for us to visit… they had balloons, flowers, signs, a special music program, food, and even a guy serenading us on the accordion!
I wanted to get a picture with him and he was trying to get me to dance with him. It was funny and memorable!
And then we drove to Tel Aviv… and oh my! I was not prepared for how beautiful it would be here or how incredible our view from the hotel would be. It was breath-taking!
We had dinner on the roof that night and said goodbye to the people who had headed up the tour. And then I packed for the long flight home and went to bed.
The next morning, we headed to the airport and got on a 12-hour flight from Tel Aviv to Newark and then from Newark to Nashville. After 10 days of being gone, I was so, so, so ready to be home, to hug my husband and kiddos, and to sleep in my own bed!
I’m SO thankful for the opportunity I had to go on this trip… I will cherish so many of the lessons and memories for years and years to come!
Have Any Questions About the Trip?
Tomorrow, I’ll be sharing how I packed for 10 days in a carry-on. And then the rest of this week, I’ll be sharing some of the deeper lessons I took away from this trip.
If you have any questions you’d love for me to answer about the trip, you are more than welcome to ask them and I’ll either answer them here or try to answer them in a post. Thanks so much for joining me on this journey! It was fun to “bring you along” with me!
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