Thursday…. Nazereth and More


Brad and Molly with the Shepherd

Brad and Molly with the Shepherd

Up and at’em! First Stop ~Nazereth Village ~  a little town a bit like Conner Prairie in Indianapolis, only the setting is Nazereth as it would have been in Jesus’ Day.

It’s hard to look around modern day Nazereth, a city of 80,000, and imagine it being a small village. The spring that likely supplied the town with water is here…we went to see it yesterday…but it’s now encased in a huge Catholic edifice, as are most historic sites here.

Nazereth is 70% Muslim and 30% Christian. Just  a few years ago, our guide tells us, that percentage was reversed. Muslims have moved in and many Christians have fled the city in search of a better education and life than they can obtain here.

So seeing the little Nazereth Village really helps. In Jesus time, Nazereth was set in the hills with roads just wide enough for a loaded donkey to pass. Houses were built of stone so for Joseph, being a carpenter likely meant working as a stone mason as well as woodworker.

At her feet, you can see the groove where the wine would have run into a holding place after being pressed by bare feet.

At her feet, you can see the groove where the wine would have run into a holding place after being pressed by bare feet.

We see a wine press that has been uncovered near what would have been the center of the village in Jesus day. Possibly Jesus sat there as he told his disciples the parable recorded in Matt 21:33 “There was a certain householder, which planted a vineyard, and hedged it round about, and dogged a winpress in it, and built a tower, and let it out to a husband, and went into a far country…..”. Within a few feet of the winpress we are standing on is  a vineyard, a wall, a tower.

Synagogue..full sized... as it would have looked in Jesus Day.

Synagogue..full sized… as it would have looked in Jesus Day.

Inside the replica of the village synagogue, we move into position, men on one side and women on the other just as they would have when Jesus opened the scroll and read from Isaiah. The synagogue is full sized and I am astonished at how small it is. We sit down on the stone benches carved on the side of the wall and try to imagine it full of Jesus’s relatives and childhood friends.


Dwayne picks a few almonds


Olive Press

Olive Press


There are more buildings here….a woman weaving wool, a tool maker and a kitchen…too much to tell.  Our guide is a Christian and does really well at explaing how many of the parables Jesus told tie in with the landscape and setting of the day.





David and Anita on Mount Precipice

David and Anita on Mount Precipice

On the edge...

On the edge…


Mount of Precipice ~ where they wanted to throw Jesus over the edge after he read in his hometown synagogue. Up on this mount, we have a view of not only the rocky cliff but we can see Mt Tabor, a high mountain near Nazereth and possible site of the transfiguration. The Jezreel Valley lies below us.

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I was excited to see the Jesus Walk on our itinerary. A rocky, dusty path from Nazereth to Capernaum, this is a 38 mile trail Jesus would almost certainly have walked. The plan was to hike 7 miles of it but for some reason that has ben cancelled. Lack of time, maybe?

Our guide says we are trying to do in 1.5 days what many groups do in 4. He tells us, “You are running where Jesus walked!”  As I’m standing, looking wistfully down the path, Wyatt and Gail take off on a sprint, calling back that at least they will cover a few feet. We follow and suddenly we *are* running  where Jesus walked. 🙂

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The bus takes us through Mashhad, the traditional birth place of Jonah as we head to Cana, where Jesus turned water to wine. Why am I shocked to see the vessels that held the wine were made of stone? I have always pictured them as pottery but I’m finding a lot of things I’ve always pictured are being edited.

Sindyanna ~ Their business is making olive oil but their real mission is offering jobs like basket weaving and oil packaging to older Arab and Jewish women in an attmept to fight fears and racism. Their hope is that these women will become friends and that these friendships will trickle out into their communities. No pictures of this stop.

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Bathroom from a home. Upper right..the hole is the toilet, the trough is the "pipe".

Bathroom from a home. Upper right..the hole is the toilet, the trough is the “pipe”.


Zippori ~ The remains of an ancient Roman city that was built during the years when Jesus  grew  up in nearby Nazereth.  Maybe he and his father, Joseph, helped to build it.  Our guide says we have 30 minutes to be back on the bus or else we will have to camp here over nigt so we race up the hill to see the foundations and mosaic floors that remain from an ancient Roman home. I ask Dwayne if I can please have a mosaic floor in my house. Jogging back down the hill, we have time to walk on original stone making up the main road through the city. This road is called the Cardio..the name for the main artery through any Roman city of that day. Cardio…the same word heart comes from…the road was the heart of the city. Notice the chariot ruts in the picture.

There are many interesting ruins here to see and this is actually how I like to see things…quickly. Pictures of ruins I have seen in the past have always looked a little boring and all the same but I admit it is fascinating to see ruts in the stone road and think about the fact that these rocks I am touching are over 2000 years old and authentic.

Wait. Every rock iin the world is authentic. So it’s not the fact that they’re rocks or even that they’re old… it’s really about the people. It’s about WHO walked on them. Jesus. These are the stones he walked on, the rocks he may have tripped over as a boy, the pebbles he played with. And not only Jesus, but hundreds and thousands of men, women and children who have lived among these stones, shuffled them around and used them for their purposes. I think about the women who lived and served here and all the stories these rocks have heard.

Jesus said that if men will not worship him, the stones willl cry out and do so.




This is a modern day house we pass by in Nazereth. This mostly Arab city resembles a 2nd world country in some ways.


Another random home in modern day Nazereth. I think the guy was watching out the window to see if our bus was going to hit anything as we parallel parked!

Another random home in modern day Nazereth. I think the guy was watching out the window to see if our bus was going to hit anything as we parallel parked!






My lunch. I’m sorry for the food pics…I can’t help it. Someone please teach me to cook this way!



Please have mercy on my misspellings, incorrect grammar and even wrong labels! I am too tired to proofread…Dwayne is already asleeep and we have to be up and on the bus at 7:30 tomorrow. Eeek. Goodnight.


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