Walking on water – Following in the footsteps of Jesus. Part 1 – Nazareth
The biblical land of Israel. Nowhere else on earth has such varied landscapes and such historical consequences within short distances of each other. Driving from the Syrian border of the Golan Heights to the Sea of Galilee, 40km of landscape that changes from snowy mountains, to fertile farmlands, through the dead desert landscapes of Jericho, to rich, oxygenated and fertile farmlands on the banks of the Galilean Sea. You could literally see the changes taking places between the horizon and the rear-view mirror, a planetary voyage across landscapes in one country that has seen, and heard it all. This is a journey following history’s most questioned man.
The saying is, Jesus of Nazareth. Lets start there..
Being the cradle of the Christian religion, one would imagine that Nazareth would be the picture perfect image of a Christian village. You might be as surprised as me then, to learn that Nazareth is a Muslim majority town. Officially the ‘Arab centre’ of Israel! It is interesting to wonder as to why it is like this.. Has the faith been lost from Nazareth after Jesus was rejected here?
Luke 4:29 “They got up, drove him out of the town, and took him to the brow of the hill on which the town was built, in order to throw him off the cliff. But he walked right through the crowd and went on his way.”
Nevertheless the importance of Nazareth cannot be understated and there are still many sites to visit. Below I list the places I visited in order of perceived importance.
1) The Church / Basilica of the Annunciation.
A church like no other. The architecture is timeless and extravagant while at the same time, simple and subtle. A true monument to the place and what it represents – more than to admire the structure itself. Kudos to the designer. The church is built over what is believed to be Mary and Josephs house. The place where Jesus lived and grew up. A must see.
2) Greek Orthodox Church of the Annunciation.
The annunciation is the event when the angel Gabriel came to Mary and told her she would give birth to a child (Luke 1:27-35). As it was not documented where this took place, many people, have many different theories (there are 18 churches of the Annunciation). The Greek Orthodox Church is placed over the only year-round spring of water and is the source of Mary’s Well (an overhyped, dirty, touristic attraction in the town square). They say that as all people must have needed to visit the Spring to gather water, that this is the credible place for the Annunciation to have taken place. A richly decorated church that is also well worth a visit.
3) St. Josephs Church.
Believed to be built over the site of the carpentry workshop of Joseph – Jesus’s father. No doubt a place where Jesus would have spent time as a young lad. A simple church with the lower levels leading to ancient caves where the workshop was.
4) Centre International Marie de Nazareth.
Highly rated on Tripadvisor but it was closed while I was there so I cannot say how it was.
The town is also famous as a Culinary destination.. Apparently.
Time needed – half a day to explore properly.