Tuesday, December 27, 2011

A Tour of Nazareth!

Before I tell you about Nazareth, I have a big favor to ask. CAYMAN SUMMER is eligible for the 2011 Whitney Awards. I just need a few of you who loved it to nominate it. Anyone who doesn't have a financial stake in it can nominate it by filling in this simple online form. The deadline is December 31, 2011. Thank you!

Our ship docked in Haifa--the third largest city in Israel. One quarter of a million people make Haifa their home, most of them Hebrew. Some Arab. Our guide used these terms. He was a Christian Arab from Cana. He smiled and said he was the Lord's neighbor.  As you can see, Haifa is a busy, modern city. Our guide told us 7 million people live in Israel. One million are Arab Moslems, and a 100,000 are Arab Christians. If I understood our guide correctly, an additional 3 million people live under the Palestinian Authority. Three million people visit Israel every year--70% are pilgrims.

Haifa, with the port and Mediterranean Sea in the background. Can you spot our ship?
Haifa is in the north--in Jesus day this was called Samaria. In Old Testament times these were the Northern Tribes--the ten who were lost. 

On our way to Nazareth, we stopped at Mt. Carmel where this statue of Elijah depicts his triumph over 450 priests of Baal. Mt. Carmel overlooks the Valley of Megiddo. 

Elijah chopping of an evil priest's head. He didn't mess around!
 At the time of Christ, Nazareth was a small, insignificant village. Mary and Joseph lived here with only 400 people. Nazareth had only one viable spring to provide water. Other nearby villages had about 20 springs. Today, Nazareth is a crowded Arab city of 70,000 people. Thirty percent are Arab Christians. The rest of the population are Moslems. Our guide said there is a good relationship between the Arab Christians and Moslems in Israel.

Nazareth streetscape
We walked through the bizarre to get to the Synagogue Church where the Savior first preached.
This is the Synagogue Church.

Here's what it looks like inside. Old stones. No windows. A table in front where the scrolls could be read by the rabbi. Pictured is one of our guides, Don Perry, a professor of Biblical Hebrew from BYU. He studied Hebrew in Jerusalem at the Hebrew University and is one of the scholars who is working to translate the Dead Sea Scrolls.  The church isn't two thousands years old, but it is built on a site where history records an old synagogue stood.

 Jesus grew up in Nazareth. He began His ministry in a synagogue that looked very much like this. When he stood up in this synagogue and read from the sacred Torah scrolls, his neighbors got so angry they wanted to kill him.

Jesus miraculously escaped the angry people in Nazareth and went to Cana. Cana was a large aristocratic city with a population of 3,000. Jesus performed His first miracle, turning the water to wine for his mother at a wedding, in Cana. Jesus also lived in Capernaum. We didn't visit Cana, but we did see Capernaum. I'll share that visit with you tomorrow!

Don't forget to enter my Christmas Week swag giveaway.


  1. Nominated! Although I hope they don't chuck me out cos I'm not from the States.
    And those are lovely photos, Angela. You look great :)

    Have a great year end!

  2. Thanks, Bee! You're the best. Wait until you see the Sea of Galilee. It's gorgeous.