Sunday February 15 - Nazareth to Jerusalem via West Bank

Sunday February 15 - Nazareth to Jerusalem via West Bank
The sun came up bright and clear over the Sea of Galilee this morning. Glory be! 

We were all in good time on the bus and off we went for the day's adventures. David S. led a devotion based on Jesus' "hidden" life when he was growing up in Nazareth. Wisam described family and village life in Palestine that would be similar to life in Nazareth 2000 years ago. 

The Church of the Annunciation in Nazareth is beautiful inside and out. It is built over the remains of the 1st century village, and the ground floor has an entrance to Mary's house, part of which is a cave. 
The upper level is where the local community worships. The walls are adorned with works of art from many countries depicting the Annunciation. Canada has two: a bas-relief woodcarving in the Quebec style and an entire painted chapel. The U.S. one is dramatic and metallic-looking. In each country's work, Mary resembles the people of that country. We walked back through narrow streets to the bus. 

 Near Nazareth the bus took us up a hill to the Cliff of Precipice, where the people of Nazareth attempted to throw Jesus to his death.
Driving through the Jezreel Valley we passed large fields of grain and arrays of greenhouses. There was lots of evidence of the rains of the last several days. 

We crossed into Palestine at Jenin, where much of the best produce in the area is grown and sold. The city is busy and crowded, predominantly Muslim. Local rock is quarried, cut and carved here.
 We rode up a steep road to Sebastinah, where we walked among the Roman ruins, including an amphitheatre, colonnaded street, a palace and then a later Christian church. 

 Most of the group went into a restaurant for a typical Palestinian meal, that they said was the best meal yet. A few of us skipped it, since we've been over-eating and I've been unable to negotiate garlic-free meals at lunch time.[ watching the camel instead of lunch ]

In Nablus we visited Jacob's Well. the church built over it is lovely, with many icons painted by the Greek Orthodox priest who is in charge. He's been there for 40 years and will be buried there eventually. He took us down to the well where we read the story from John, of Jesus and the Samaritan woman at the well. Wisam lowered a bucket into the well and all the women took turns turning the crank to bring it back to the surface. The well is, indeed, very deep.

On the way to Jerusalem we passed Ramala, the Palestinian capital, and a few other familiar-sounding places.Once again we sailed through the check point without having to stop, and came to the lovely 
Olive Tree hotel in Old Jerusalem. This is definitely the best of the 3 hotels we've been in. There's even a tea kettle in our room, which I used right away.
Dinner was delicious, and afterward we heard a dialogue between an Israeli and a Palestinian giving their respective views on the conflict.

Link to All Photos for February 15

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