Day 2: Harod, Jezreel and Mount Carmel

We visited the Spring of Harod, Jezreel, Megiddo and Mt. Carmel today. I will save most of Jezreel and all of Megiddo for later posts, but here are some highlights from the other sites.

We left this morning to visit the Spring of Harod, where the Lord had Gideon whittle his army down from 10,000 to 300 based on the way they drank the spring’s water. From the top of the cave one can see the entire story of Gideon’s battle against the Midianites as described in Judges 7. We went next to site of ancient Jezreel, just a couple of miles to the west. After hiking and exploring the site for more than 1-1/2 hours, we drove to the site of Megiddo. Megiddo is special for several reasons, and we explored there for around 2 hours. We finished by driving to the traditional location of Elijah’s contest with the prophets of Ball on Mount Carmel, a striking event recorded in 1 Kings 18.

Drinking from Harod, as per Judges 7:5-7. One of these men is not like the other.

Drinking water from the Spring of Harod, as per Judges 7:5-7. It seems only one of theses men will be permitted to fight. This spring is only mentioned once in the Bible, but many Bible characters likely drank from it as they traveled by Mount Gilboa. The spring flows out from a cave at the foot of the mountain. With the lower water level and the rock border, drinking is a bit more difficult now.

TThe view from atop the Harod Spring cave.

The view from atop the Harod Spring cave. Gideon's Israelite army was camped in the foreground while the Midianite force was camped "by the Hill of Moreh, in the valley" (Judges 7:1) The Hill of Moreh sits in the background of this photo. According to the Bible, Gideon's force of 300 men crossed over by night and stood around the Midianite camp. At Gideon's signal they blew trumpets, held up torches and shouted. Panic ensued in the Midianite army and the soldiers fled, fighting each other to get away in the darkness.

Yours truly standing on a wall.

Yours truly standing on the wall of what may have been a fortress or citadel in Jezreel. Note the arched doorway and the recessed areas in the wall. Perhaps the alcoves were used for lighting, or for the display of gods. Jezreel was an important Israelite administrative center during and after the time of King Ahab, who had his summer palace here. Yet this is the only structure of any kind remaining on the site. We did not know this structure existed, so it was a pleasant surprise to stumble on it.

View from the traditional site of the Carmel contest.

View from the traditional site of the Carmel contest described in 1 Kings 18. No one knows the exact spot, but the geography of this location fits well with the written account. Elijah and the prophets of Baal each built an altar, then called on their respective gods to light the sacrifice from Heaven. The God of Israel responded with a fire that consumed both the sacrifice and the altar stones. The prophets of Baal were slain at the Kision Brook following this event. The Kishon Brook is the thin green line mid-left in the photo, just above the road.

A closer view

A closer view of the Kishon Brook, where the Baal prophets were slain.

New blog item: Food Watch

(This feature is dedicated to my friend John Umber, who would probably enjoy Israel only for the food.)

Cuisine is a major part of any culture, and archaeology has helped to reveal the standard diets of many ancient peoples. I will mention any interesting food items I encounter in modern Israeli culture. Please consider this to be an educational and cultural benefit. We’ll start easy with…

Day 1, Lunch: We ate Felafel, fried balls of mashed chickpeas with various spices and seasonings. Felafel is served in a pita pocket with one’s choice of condiments (tomato, celery, lettuce, onion, hummus, spicy sauce, etc  I’ve eaten it a number of times, but this was one of the best I’ve had.

Day 1, Dinner: We decided on kosher Israeli pizza, which means no meat options to go with the cheese. I enjoyed a “Napolitana” pizza with mushrooms, eggplant and “Bulgarian” cheese.

Day 2, Breakfast: With my scrambled eggs, coffee, tea, juice, bread and fruit, I enjoyed a dish of tuna with diced pickles, onions, red peppers and cilantro. I observed (but did not breakfast on) a dish of grated carrots with some light sauce and a red & green bell pepper salad topped with a white cheese. There were a couple of other veggie-type mixed dishes on the breakfast buffet as well.

Day 2, Lunch: An olive oil ice cream cone. An unsurprising local option considering the number of olive trees in this country. It was better than you think.

Day 2, Dinner: When my father Royce took a bite of some kind of green pepper, he quickly began gasping and grasping for water. This is no mean accomplishment for Mr. Texas jalapeño hot sauce. He did not inquire as to the name of the pepper. I think he may be afraid of it.

More food culture to come?

About LukeChandler

Luke holds an M.A. in Ancient and Classical History and has been an adjunct professor at Florida College in Temple Terrace, Florida. Luke and his wife Melanie have five children. He serves as a minister with the North Terrace Church of Christ and has participated in multiple archaeological excavations in Israel. Luke leads informative, meaningful tours to Europe and the Bible Lands.
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3 Responses to Day 2: Harod, Jezreel and Mount Carmel

  1. Luke, the scenes across the Jezreel Valley to the Hill of Moreh and from Mount Carmel are great. You never know from one day to the next, or morning to evening, whether it will be clear. Thanks for the interesting reports. But, I would have found McDonald’s!

  2. Melanie Chandler says:

    So glad you guys are having such a great time! It sounds incredible. The pictures are breathtaking. Makes me wish I was there with you but of course I’m busy with the kids. Love you, Mel

  3. Marshal Ray says:

    Great pics and stories so far! Thanks for sharing! Sounds like you’re having a full day every day 🙂

    Re: The Hill of Moreh photo

    I wonder if Gideon & his men stopped to relax a bit at that swimming pool(lower right) on the way to the battle. But then they may have seen a sign that said “Lifeguard Not On Duty.”

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