This is part two of our pilgrimage to The Holy Land. If you missed part one, see it here.
Ceasarea was a seaport built by Herod on the Mediterranean Sea, also used for one of his many palaces.
Here’s the Aqueduct at Caesarea. It’s amazing to see the size and scale of these structures and realize they are 2000 years old. Herod named the seaport to honor his boss, Emperor Caesar; Herod was a crafty politician for sure.
We took a boat ride on the Sea of Galilee. Many of the Gospel stories about Jesus and his disciples took place on and around boats on this lake. I didn’t notice this small bird on the bow of the boat until I uploaded the image to the blog page.
The Israeli government has been building a wall, roughly going along the border between Israel and the occupied West Bank, according to the “green line” agreed to in the Oslo Accords of 1992. But in some places the wall zigzags into the West Bank, to encompass Israeli settlements, for example. We learned that the wall has made life extremely difficult for many Palestinians, cutting through neighborhoods or separating farmers from their fields. Pictured here is a section of the Wall in Jerusalem. You can see the barbed wire on the top of the massive wall, and the watchtower on the right. There’s a lot of anger and frustration expressed in the graffiti on the wall. I’m not sure what this white creature represents, perhaps the mean Israeli separating one Palestinian from his family or friends.
The Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem – yes, there are a few Episcopal or Anglican churches in Israel – supports many schools and health clinics. We visited, on the Mount of Olives, a school for disabled children. One of the charming young girls we met is pictured above.
We spent part of a beautiful morning at the Jordan River, upstream a few miles from the place where Jesus is remembered to have been baptized. Our group renewed their baptismal vows and we were sprinkled with holy water from the river, from olive branches shaken over our heads. Many denominations would go for full immersion, but we Episcopalians are a bit timid and tentative about these things.
As mentioned in my first post, we stayed in Nazareth at The Sisters of Nazareth Convent. It is unknown where Joseph, Mary and Jesus lived in Nazareth, but it was a small town at that time, with perhaps only 500 residents. So, we were likely very close to the home of The Holy Family. In the courtyard of the convent, there is a statue of the family. Here’s a detail of that statue. I love the expression on Jesus’ face, and the way in Mary holds one hand and Joseph holds the other arm.
If you have an opportunity to go to The Holy Land, don’t pass it up. It could change you life.
You can see more pictures, videos and articles by other members of our group here.