we were embarking upon a trail from where Christ was raised to one of the many places where He performed miracles
- Dr. David Smith
Starting off in Nazareth and continuing to Cana, we were embarking upon a trail from where Christ was raised to one of the many places where He performed miracles in the Galilee region. Anticipating our trip ahead, we all thought about the miracles in our own lives and the lives of our loved ones that we wanted to see happen. We looked forward to what lay ahead of us with great anticipation.
This was the first day of our hike on the Jesus Trail. Everyone in our group was bustling around getting their things together in the Doctors' House where we stayed on the campus of The Nazareth Hospital in Nazareth, Israel. We were participating in a hike of forty miles from Nazareth to Capernaum (The Jesus Trail) as part of a fund-raiser to help provide needed funds for the SERVE projects of The Nazareth Trust. This program allows for Christian volunteers, who come from various parts of the world, to have the required funds for projects to serve those in need in the city and provide a way of witnessing for Christ through serving others.
We toured the hospital yesterday afternoon along with the city (see below). The Nazareth Trust also operates The Nazareth Village which is as close as one can get to seeing and experiencing a little of what life was like in the Nazareth of 2000 years ago. There was even an authentic Mediterranean meal prepared in a hearth.
As we prepared to leave, we were greeted with a rainy half-day, but the cakes of mud on our shoes, ponchos, umbrellas, and other hindrances did not subtract from the joy of seeing a much needed blessing of rain for this area where it is greatly appreciated. We hiked from site to site as our guide, Amer, educated us on what we saw along the way. Even the mainly rocky ground upon which we walked brought to mind Jesus' parable of the various soils. Every experience was a reminder of Biblical scripture to some extent.
We looked out from the heights above Nazareth and could see the precipice from which Jesus' hometown folks wanted to throw Him off, while farther in the distance Mount Carmel was visible. The site of Mary's home could be seen from there along with the Basilica of the Annunciation which is largest Christian church in the Middle East. We ate olives from the trees at one location and found pomegranates and figs along the way also.
When our hike led us to Zippori National Park, we got to walk on an ancient Roman road that has been beautifully excavated with an adjacent previous home site that had original mosaic tile floors still there. To walk on an actual road where Jesus may have walked was humbling to say the least. Ruts were present into the solid stone road which were from chariots that used to navigate the road there. The park also has a section of an ancient cistern system that is about thirty feet deep and can be walked through with the help of some stairs. This cistern system is massive and coated with plaster on the inside which used to hold the water inside when in use.
We continued on the trail and came to the mosque where Jonah is buried. We were greeted warmly by many Arabs along our journey, saw children happily playing and got to pet a number of cats along the way.
When we finally got to Cana, it was a welcome sight for us all who were tired and ready to rest. We retired for the evening and had a home prepared supper (that was more like a feast with new found friends) with Suad "Sammy" and his family at the Cana Guest House; Sammy was the most gracious host I have ever encountered and even helped my wife massage my sore shoulders with olive oil later that evening. We saw a wedding taking place in an immaculate chapel as the sun was setting and saw in the church an original stone jar like the ones of Jesus' time when He performed His first miracle. We looked forward to a good rest before arising for breakfast and then hiking to Kibbutz Lavi. To see more pictures of our trip, go to "Nazareth Project" on Facebook.