Getting My Jesus On

Yesterday was such an exciting, yet tiring day! After about 3.5 hours of sleep, I had to wake up to catch my tour bus going to Nazareth and Galilee. The tour was small, with only myself and the Cooper Family (parents Jen and Bob and kids Genaivive 10, Matty 16, and Rose who looked about 14) on the tour. I was a little nervous bc I wasn’t sure if I would want to be bothered with being nice (LOL) but they were very charming and we all had a nice time.

Despite the fact that the tour driver/guide clearly had not cleaned the van in about a week, he was a great guide who was nice and knowledgeable.

Our first stop was the Basilica of the Annunciation. The church is the largest of the Middle East and was built on the site of Mary’s (mother of Jesus) old home. To say the place was big is an understatement. It has two floors and a ceiling so high that I felt dizzy looking to the top. The courtyard surrounding the church is filled with various mosaics given to the church by all of the countries that donated money to have it built.

There are a couple of controversies surrounding the church tho. First is that some claim that it is also the site where the Angel Gabriel appeared to Mary to tell her she was pregnant with Jesus. (Others say it was further up the road at the well.). The second controversy is that Nazareth is mostly a muslim town and they apparently resent the church being there-as evidenced by the huge sign put up in front of the church saying “And whosoever seeks a religion other than Islam, it will never be accepted of him, and in the Hereafter he will be one of the losers.”

Next to the Basilica is St. Josephs church, where Joseph’s carpentry workshop was.

After leaving Nazareth, we headed to the Church of the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fishes (also known as the Church of Heptagon). This church contains the rock where it is said that Jesus laid 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish and turned it into enough food to feed 5000 people. Absolutely amazing…except that I am a bit disturbed that they couldn’t find a name besides the Church of the Multiplication of Loaves and Fishes lol. Is “fishes” even a word? I thought the plural of fish was fish? But I digress…

Next was Capharnum, a small town (mostly ruins remain) where Peter’s mother in law lived and is said to have hosted Jesus for some time. Some also argue that the town contains the synagogue that was regularly attended by Christ) but Christians have disputed that location.

Next was a short walk along the Sea of Galilee. However, the Sea is actually not a sea at all-just a small lake. (I mean small as in not the size of the Great Lakes). If you want to see it for yourself I advise getting on over here because apparently the lake is getting smaller and smaller by the year and may one day be gone unless Israel gets some of the water issues together.

And FINALLY was a visit to the River Jordan-close to the spot where Jesus was baptized. (The actual location no longer has water there either!) It was amazing to see people getting baptized there! It looks like anyone can do it there. I dipped my toes in and the water felt WONDERFUL! I wanted to go in further, but there were some HUGE catfish swimming around. I knew they wouldn’t hurt me but if you had seen these things you would have thought twice too lol.

Later that night, after the tour, Shara and I went to hang out at her friend’s house in their Succot. Succot is a week long holiday which commemorates the years that that the Israelites wandered the desert. To celebrate, people build a make-shift tent outside with one door open and people come in and out of the tent for food, to visit, and apparently the hard core sleep in the tent as well (bc back in the day they use to have to sleep in the succot).
After the visit, Shara and I went to my favorite restaurant/bar in Tel Aviv…but I can’t remember how to spell the name! Boo! Maybe it’s bc they gave us like, 4 free shots a piece? That may also explain why I am so exhausted this morning lol. The restaurant is about 5 minute from Shara’s place and has a tree growing thu it! Lol.

Then Shara and I got into a great discussion on Israel and the tensions it has with the Palestinians and how the world views it. I will definitely share, but I may need a few more conversations with her first…

Well, I am on the way to Jerusalem and Bethlehem now. Think I need a quick nap on this tour bus!