…said Professor Michal Artzy of the University of Haifa, co-director of the Tel Akko Excavation, as she gave us a tour of the Tel. We had just walked past a magnificent cactus (pictured above) and she explained they are not native to Israel, so had to have been imported. Depictions of Jesus walking through high desert, with cacti dotting the countryside may be picturesque, but they don’t represent the landscape Jesus actually knew.
Nevertheless, though imported, it seems cactus have found their niche, as this picture shows:
During our walk, we passed a whole colony of these beautiful little snails. Professor Artzy described how chicken farmers will sometimes come to harvest some of the snails as protein for their egg-layers.
When we came to the end of our tour, we walked up some steps to a landing where we could see the coast, Haifa on one side and Akko on the other, and the fields behind us.
“Where do you think the wood came from?” Professor Artzy asked us. Trees? we tentatively responded. Well, actually, wood is premium in Israel, as there are not that many trees here which provide board logs. These stairs are repurposed railroad ties.
While we stood there, gazing out over the bay, Professor Artzy guided our sight to the mountains in the background.
“Do you know these mountains? There is Carmel, where Elijah met the prophets of Ba’al…they misbehaved.” The story sprang immediately to mind, and just as I was imagining the scene, Professor Artzy said, with a small smile, “It did not turn out so well for them, either!”