By Carl and Becky Van Stavern
Greetings from Nazareth.
We had a wonderful day touring Nazareth today. Following a short bus ride down the hill from our guest house our first stop was at Mary’s Well, which is housed in the Greek Orthodox Church of the Annunciation. As always, our tour guide provided us with an interesting background story with appropriate scriptural support.
We then walked through the Old City Market area to visit the Greek Catholic Synagogue Church, which is representative of a synagogue where Jesus may have read the scroll to his hometown crowd as recorded in Luke 4. Monroe Yoder shared this powerful passage with us and then we sang to witness the beautiful acoustics of this site.
We journeyed on towards our next stop, the (Roman Catholic) Church of the Annunciation, which contains the house of Mary. This church also has many beautiful frescoes of the Immaculate Conception as interpreted and represented from various cultures of the world, including the one from the USA, which according to our guide utilized some of the remnants recovered from the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster.
Our next stop was just a short journey up the hill to Church of St. Joseph, also known as the Carpenter’s Church, which according to tradition, was built on the site of where the Holy Family lived.
Following a break for lunch and some free time to visits some of the shops, we finished out our day visiting Nazareth Village, which is a re-creation of a first century village. Following our tour of Nazareth Village, we had a time of prayer and reflection at the synagogue that had been constructed at the Village. We finished our time at the village by partaking of a wonderful first century meal.
Our day was rounded out by hearing one of the English guests at the guest house read the story of Jesus’ birth as it had been written by some English elementary students from the middle of England in that area’s particular accent.
Tomorrow, we head further north for our first glimpse of the Sea of Galilee.
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