Tuesday, June 27, 2006


After work today instead of riding back to the kibbutz with the expedition team I cleaned up as best I could in the bathroom at the gift shop, put on some clean clothes, and rode to Nazareth with the Megiddo guard. This man lives in a Bedouin village outside of Nazareth and agreed (through Dan, my interpreter) to drop me off at Nazareth on his way home. * I am glad I got to see Nazareth. It is a very interesting place. I hung out for a few hours in the Old City, where the Biblically historical sites are. The places I saw were the Catholic Church of the Annunciation (Large, modern - built in 1969 - beautiful, with an archaeologically preserved grotto where it is believed by some to be the place where Gabriel visited Mary with The News.) Also The Church of St. Joseph, built on what was thought to be Joseph's workshop. I then walked through the old market area as I headed to the next site. The old market area is interesting in that the narrow streets wind up and down in a way in which one could easily get lost, which I did. It is also interesting in that the shops are set inside what looks like grottos from hundreds of years ago (and they probably are) and basically all the merchants are selling is cheap stuff from China. After hiking up one of the steepest paved roads I have ever been on I realized the error of my ways and asked directions. Found an English speaker who set me right. Walked back down to the Church of St. Gabriel (Greek Orthodox) where perhaps the actual visit of Mary by Gabriel occurred. This was a beautiful old building with almost all interior wall space painted in frescos. While there a man began to pull on the rope which rings the large bell in the tower above. Shortly thereafter two priests entered wearing long robes and tall, cylindrical hats, and swinging their containers of incense. I stood back when I realized it was a funeral. Six men carried in the body of the deceased man in a shallow, crudely built wooden casket with no top. This they placed in front of the alter. Twenty or thirty men gathered around (no women present) and chanted and sang along with the priests. Interesting experience. * Old City Nazareth is almost fully Arabic. It is a combination of a few modern stores and hotels, lots of centuries old buildings and streets, and many broken down slums. Mary's well, where Mary almost certainly came to get water (it was the only water source in Nazareth during the time of Jesus) was full of trash. * When I got ready to come back to the kibbutz I found a taxi driver and negotiated a price for transport. Since he did not speak English we used sign language and writing. (Fortunately we both know Arabic numerals!) He said 150 shekels. I countered with 130. We settled on 140. * While driving through Nazareth proper I saw several IDF members with their M 16's patrolling the streets.


Blogger Summer said...

Thanks for sharing all of your experiences with us. So much of your trip to Nazareth is amazing to me, but the thing that stood out the most is that the well was full of trash. When I picture Bethlehem, I guess I always picture it as it was during Jesus' day, which is the only way I have ever seen it represented. Hard to imagine cheesy souvenirs being sold in the streets where Jesus once walked, and trash polluting the well where Jesus spoke of living water. Hope you took pictures.
Love you!

June 27, 2006 11:16 AM  
Blogger Sandra said...

After reading about your trip to Nazareth I said (to the computer), "Trash in the well? What a bummer!" Then I discovered that Summer had the same reaction. My second reaction was to the steepest hill you've ever climbed. That has to be an incredibly steep hill--when I think of some of the the hills we climbed in Japan. Enjoy the journey. Love you.

June 27, 2006 3:46 PM  

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