I was already well into my water supply before I ever left Nazareth. After leaving the Fauzi Azar Inn, the trail markers (Yellow lines and orange dots) led to a small alleyway with a staircase of 150 steps to reach the top road out.
My tights were burning by the time I reached the top…and I hadn’t even gotten out of Nazareth yet. There were several hours before I would be in Sepphoris, and several more after that before I would reach Cana. For about the 20th time, I wondered what was I thinking? But it was too late for second guess. The only way forward is through.
A few hours and lots of mud later, I was rewarded with this beautiful vista of Nazareth. Nazareth is a city “set on a hill” with a commanding view of the Jezreel Valley. The name Jezreel means “God will sow” and now it’s known as the ‘breadbasket of Israel’ according to a Israeli tourism site. It’s beautiful, fertile and also according to some literalists, the place where the final showdown will happen at Armageddon. The only final showdown today was between my brain and my aching feet.
Sapphoris (Zippori) was the lunch stop. This is the place where many imagine Jesus worked for many years of his life. The evidence suggests Sapphoris was in a building boom under the Ceasar rule.
I was thinking about Jesus when I visited an amazing archeological site that included this 1.5 million piece mosaic floor from a 3rd century home. Haunting, beautiful and old.
Once again I was grateful for people who give their lives to such pursuits as this and grateful to not be included in their company. But no time to linger – Cana was still ahead, though getting there took me past heaps (and heaps) of garbage. It wasn’t quite what I imagined The Jesus Trail to be like. I considered what Jesus might have seen as he approached Cana that day enroute to a wedding celebration and what I was seeing as I came upon the city today.
And I remembered that going on a pilgrimage isn’t about recreating a scene from the past. It’s about seeing God in the land of the living. It’s an amazing adventure to be in the very land – where Jesus walked, but the reality of the risen Christ is that Jesus walks everywhere. Encountering people everywhere. And in ways I am far from appreciating, we see God in the ‘sacramental ordinariness’ of life.
Today I was in the presence of the sacred, complete with aching feet, a too-full backpack, and a ongoing wee-bit of anxiety. But then you were in the same presence. Just as holy.
The Jesus Trail is everywhere