Days of Elijah

Hi! I am Leah Bauman from St. Jacobs Mennonite Church. Today the YELLA group headed out to Caesarea and Mt. Carmel (half an hour earlier than our usual start time, which caused a few *bad moods*). Our trip to Mount Carmel, which is the site of the story of Elijah and the prophets of Ba’al in 1 Kings 18, was postponed due to thunderstorms, although our leaders insisted the rain and storms would create a biblically accurate experience on the mountain. On our way to Caesarea, our bus driver took us to a spot in the city of Haifa that overlooked the Mediterranean Sea, which was a stunning place for pictures. Haifa is Israel’s third largest city, and has a major port. We stopped at the mall for lunch, in order to ride out the rainy weather. In the afternoon, the skies cleared up a little more so we continued on our way to the ruins at Caesarea. Caesarea was constructed under King Herod, as an attempt to impress Caesar. It had an elaborate palace, built out into the Mediterranean Sea, as well as an amphitheatre and a hippodrome. In the Byzantine era, more structures were added, including baths with intricately tiled floors. Later, Crusaders built a fortress on the site. We began our tour in a reconstructed amphitheatre that directly faced in the direction of Rome, Italy across the Mediterranean. Looking across at the huge sea was a very humbling experience for me. It felt like a reminder of how big the world is, and how much of the world there is to see. The next part of the afternoon reminded us all about the importance of being a kid. We drove a short distance to a sandy beach on the Mediterranean Sea. Some of us enjoyed climbing up on the old Roman aqueduct, that carried water 17 km from the mountains to Caesarea, while others collected shells, built sandcastles and jumped in the waves.
All of us surely felt the salt on our faces and hair as we took a bus ride to Mount Carmel. Derek led us in a short reflection on the mountain overlooking the Jezreel Valley about the Elijah story and a few of us jammed out to Days of Elijah on the way back to the hostel.

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