In our filming near the sea of Galilee, we visited two of the ruined towns where Jesus spent most of his ministry. In Capernaum, we saw the ruins of the house where Jesus likely lived, and filmed the gorgeous white limestone synagogue.
Next to all the grey stone buildings in Galilee, the light-colored synagogue gleamed in the sun like a palace - a little piece of Jerusalem. Aran explained that people in ancient communities put a lot of time and money into their synagogues.
Underneath the stone floors of excavated synagogues, archeologists often find a smooth bed of coins, instead of the sand used in other buildings. The coins were invisible once the synagogue was finished, but it was another way to make the place of worship special.
Capernaum is right on the seashore, which was a good thing. The site is considered too sacred for anyone to talk on-camera inside, so we had to film Carl talking outside, and the sea made a perfect backdrop.
We also made several trips to another place where Jesus often went. The ruined village of Korazim, or Chorazin, as it’s often spelled in the Bible. There are a handful of grey stone houses, and a lovely synagogue that have been excavated for tourists to visit, but Korazim was actually much larger. The green hillsides all around the tourist area are dotted with the stone tops of un-excavated houses.
Once, Korazim was a city. Both it and Capernaum were built near a trade road, and saw plenty of traffic. There was a reason that Jesus frequented these cities as he taught and healed. But today, Korazim is just a empty shell.
A large sign in the center of the excavated town mentions this verse:
“Then Jesus began to denounce the towns in which most of his miracles had been performed, because they did not repent. ‘Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I tell you, it will be more bearable for Tyre and Sidon on the day of judgment than for you.’"
Jesus cursed the town of Korazim, the sign explained, and it still stands empty today. In Jerusalem, Jesus said that the stones would cry out if the people kept silent. And in Korazim, now they do.
We got some beautiful shots in Korazim. The tall green grass was a bright contrast to the muted stone walls. As we worked, the day when the embassy moved to Jerusalem got closer, and we heard that tensions were still high in the Golan heights, but things were largely quiet in the valley.
When we finished filming in Korazim, we had only one day left on our trip. We planned to pick up a few shots at several different locations, including Jerusalem as we headed to the airport to fly home.
Our last day in Jerusalem was the day before the new embassy opened, and it was an exciting one.