OpenRoad Driver Volume 15 Issue 1 - Page 36

36 » OpenRoad Driver A church atop Acre’s seawall remains in honour of St. John the Baptist, a prophet revered by Israel’s four major religions. the Sea of Galilee where Jesus lived and preached, and see His baptism site on the River Jordan. Instead, our route passes Haifa’s refinery, sprawling chemical plants, and takes us along the dry desolate coastline. A large plantation emerges surprisingly below a hill. “Kibbutzniks genetically engineered those bananas to resist root nematodes,” Lem notes. “Using white netting and drip irrigation to decrease water loss, they’ve created a very successful enterprise!” Our investigations of Caesarea begin at the reconstructed amphitheatre. “A cosmopolitan population enjoyed performances here,” Lem recounts. “Of course, Rabbis forbade congregations to attend such pagan activities.” On a nearby limestone block, inscriptions show Pontius Pilate paying tribute to Emperor Tiberius. We discover that outside Biblical references, this is the only existing evidence of the Roman prefect who ordered Jesus’ death. On a rocky point beyond, reassembled foundations and marble columns outline Herod’s Palace. Below, bathing pools carved into rock ledges border cobalt blue Mediterranean waters. Here we learn how King Herod developed this strategic seaport and dedicated it to Emperor Augustus. Images of chariot racers and cheering toga-clad spectators rush forward as we stroll through the Hippodrome’s extensive ruins. Ahead, red brick bathhouses feature sophisticated clay plumbing, pools with stone benches and dramatic black