Overlooking the giant patchwork quilt of the tranquil Jezreel Valley, the tiny Carmelite monastery of Mukhraka (translated as “burned place”) is a “can’t-miss-site” on any tour of the Holy Land.
Clinging to the southeastern peak of Mount Carmel, Mukhraka also offers a sweeping panoramic view from the rooftop of the monastery. You can see for miles, the ancient biblical sites of Nazareth, Mount Tabor, Mount Gilboa and Samaria.
At the entrance to the chapel, visitors are immediately greeted by an impressive statue of the prophet Elijah, with his sword poised toward heaven. It is this figure which gives Mukhraka its context. Confronted with the evil perpetrated by King Ahab and his wife, Jezebel, Elijah called on the king to assemble the 450 prophets of the Phoenician god Baal on Mount Carmel. There, he challenged them to a heavenly duel (1 Kings 18). The powerless Baal could not respond to the prophets’ petitions — but Almighty God replied to Elijah’s simple prayer by sending fire from heaven. As a result, the false prophets were put to death and the people of Israel turned their hearts toward the one true God.
This is one of the many places in the Holy Land where one can clearly see the stories of the scriptures come to life in a vivid way.