As mentioned yesterday, we decided to rent a car for a few days in order to see as much of the surrounding countryside as possible. Our original plan was to walk the Jesus Trail from Nazareth to Capernaum (about 60 kms) but the weather was not cooperating. In fact, we had an honest to goodness thunderstorm last night so if we were still on the fence about it, that sealed the deal.
So, we hopped on the bus this morning and rode over to Nazareth Ilit which is where we found the Rental Place. After a few long discussions regarding insurance and what we were covered for and what we weren’t, we finally got the keys to our Mazda 2.
With our trusty Google Maps, we made our way to Cana and the Church of the Wedding Feast. This is the church where Jesus performed his first miracle by turning water into wine. Believe it or not, it is actually called the Wedding Church and all the shops lining the street sell Cana Wedding Wine and Cana Wedding Souvenirs. The current church was built circa 1881. Archaeological excavations indicate that the site housed a Jewish synagogue in the fourth and fifth centuries, and tombs under the rule of the Byzantine Empire in the fifth and sixth centuries. It seems that no matter how many of these ancient pieces of stone walls and caves and crevices that I see, I am always fascinated to know the history of the people that walked here long before. What did they do? What did they think? How did they feel? We can only begin to imagine.
From there we were off to Mount Tabor and the Church of the Transfiguration. It is traditionally believed to be the site where the Transfiguration of Christ took place, an event in the Gospels in which Jesus is transfigured upon an unnamed mountain and speaks with Moses and Elijah. After a very winding drive to the top, we parked and walked through at a tree lined lane that led to the church. Once through the medieval fashioned gate, we walked through the ruins of previous Crusader and Byzantine churches. Some walls, steps and doorways still exist from both eras. The church itself is very impressive and considered one of the most magnificent churches in the Holy Land. Their website has some beautiful pictures of the church and the ruins in the large courtyard. Check it out!! https://biblewalks.com/sites/TaborFranciscan.html
We headed back towards Nazareth and Mount Precipice. Now that was an interesting drive!! Very narrow, steep streets out of Mount Tabor Town and a narrow, winding back road into Nazareth. Regardless, we got up to the top of Mount Precipice and walked to the site where the people of Nazareth tried to throw Jesus off the mountain after he made his first sermon at the Synagogue below. Though Richard did threaten to throw me off as well, both of us made it back down this mountain and all the way back to our BNB.
The views from both mountains were beautiful and we took in the very green landscape below. We have been surprised by how green it actually is here north of Jerusalem. I guess the rain that we have been having for the last week, though not so conducive to touring, has been very helpful in freshening everything up. Tomorrow we head further north to Capernaum and the Mount of the Beatitudes. Looking forward to another great day!!
The Church of the Wedding Feast.
Wait a minute, hold on here. Apparently we have competition for where Jesus performed his first Miracle from the Greek Orthodox Church down the street.
As Col had mentioned we have been surprised at how green it is in Northern Israel. Personally I was shocked to see all the vegetation and water as all I expected to see was desert. I guess most of my knowledge of Israeli geography has come from Hollywood. No wonder it is a bit distorted. Unfortunately it was a bit of a hazy day, but I think you get the gist of it.