Jezreel City, Mt. of Transfiguration, Mt. Tabor, Endor, Mt. Gilboa, Beitshan, Tel Rehov, Brook Kerith, Jezreel Valley Railway, Abel Meholah, Tishbe
At Tel Jezreel we rub the stones and feel the fort which guards the approach from the sea. We drink from the spring where Elijah told King Ahab, “Neither dew nor rain!” We kick the dirt where dogs licked up Ahab’s blood and devoured the flesh of Jezebel. We look for hair where the city fathers stacked the heads of Ahab’s 70 children.
Up on Tabor, we ask if Jesus might have preferred to bring Peter, James and John up this smaller peak instead of slogging through the snow of Mt. Hermon before the Israelis installed their ski lift. We see how the Franciscans enlarged on Peter’s plan of cabins for Jesus, Moses, and Elijah, so we look inside their Church of the Transfiguration. Out in the parking lot again, we recall Jesus’ caution: “Elijah got no hero’s welcome, and neither does the Messiah.”
Just to the north we find Kibbutz Ein Dor and the village of Endor, both named for the Witch of Endor, who called Samuel from the grave to tell King Saul, “Tomorrow you will be with me.” Then on Mt. Gilboa, where the Philistines killed Saul and Jonathan, we listen to David’s poem, “The beauty of Israel is slain.”
We cross due east to ancient Beit She’an, where Obadiah searched for grass and found Elijah. In seven minutes we’re at Rehov, where Elijah may have rested overnight on his flight from Jezebel. We glance east across the Jordan River into Gilead for a glimpse of Tishbe, Elijah’s hometown and for the Brook Kerith, where ravens brought Elijah bread and meat. Just to our south we see Abel Meholah — “Dancing Meadow” — where Elijah tossed Elisha his cloak. At nearby Adam, the river backed up for Joshua.
On the way back to our hotel, we wave once more to the engineer on the historic Jezreel Valley Railway. Yes! It’s so good to kick off our shoes in our Leonardo Club Hotel room by the Sea of Galilee! Some of us swim. Some discuss Elisha’s going-away party.