Today, we started traveling west on “the road to the sea.” Probably the way anyone, including Jesus would have traveled from Galilee to Jerusalem. On the way we saw the city of Saffet, probably the city he referred to as ‘The City on a Hill.”
Our first stop was Zippori which was the home of Mary’s mother. It is also a place of education where the Sanhedrin were. Jesus was known as Rabbi and asked to speak in the synagogue in his home town. Since it was a short distance from Zippori to Nazareth, Jesus probably got his education here.
Next stop Cana of Galilee. Excavation of the old city found a large public room with a wine press which would be the place people used to celebrate a wedding,. There was also a synagogue nearby which would be the place of the formal wedding ceremony. Because of this, they believe this was the place of Jesus’ first miracle.
We then went to Nazareth and saw three chapels. The fist was the Church of the Synagogue. It is built on the floor of the Synagogue where Jesus probably preached from Isaiah 53. He also explained that nothing Jesus did was coincidental. Like our common lectionary readings, the Jews had a calendar that listed specific readings for a day. Jesus knew what those readings were and had to choose that particular Saturday to read from that scroll. Just a short distance away is a few cliffs which the townspeople were going to throw him from.
We also saw the church of the Annunciation, believed to be the place Mary had here announcement of pregnancy with the baby Jesus. The top of the church looks like a lighthouse which in Hebrew means Announce.
We also saw the Church of Joseph built over a house of a carpenter. There is no way they know for sure but it could be the childhood home of Jesus
Next we went to Beit She an. It can be dated back to 6000 BC. It was a massive discovery of over 10 layers of cities. Cities were built on top of the ruins of the previous city. This one was amazing with a theatre, a gymnasium with hot and cold swimming pools. They even had a sauna and how they made the hot water for the sauna in their time was pure genius.
Herod the Great built this city using the black lava rock from the area and accented it with marble columns and stone from Italy. It is the city Saul and Jonathan’s body‘s were hung 1Samuel 31: 12.
Nearby, they were working on the road and unearthed more ruins which turned out to be hippodrome.
Next we crossed into the West Bank and traveled along the Jordan Valley for Jerusalem. When I got to Jerusalem, my heart became heavy. I felt a similar feeling the first time I
went to New York and saw the place the Twin Towers once stood. To think this was the place Jesus died took my breath away. For the next three days, we get to visit these places.