Saturday, February 1, 2014

Today was our fifth day of Holy Land part 2 and what a day it was! How do we even begin to describe it?

 We left beautiful green Galilee and drove through the Jordan Valley south until we cut up into the mountains of Samaria to the west. We went to Nablus to the Well of Jacob where the my friend the Greek Orthodox priest gave us a personal tour and told us the story of the well and the church.

 We saw the jug which the woman of Samaria used to give Jesus a drink. We also viewed a reliquary with part of her skull and part of the skull of John the Baptist. He also allowed us to take pictures of the well below as we drew water from the 120 foot deep well to drink. Many of our group were in tears as I read John 4.

 Then to Taybeh, the only Christian village in all of the West Bank. After Mass we ate at a quaint restaurant over 700 years old – the food was delicious.

 Then to Bethel where we took a long walk through the Jewish settlement with lots of interaction with the local Jews as they walked and relaxed on the Sabbath. We visited the hill where Abraham build an altar (Gen 12) and where Jacob had the dream of the ladder (Gen 28).  I had a great time reading the passages and describing them in the light of the New Testament and Christ.

 Then we drove to Wadi (Valley) of Elah where David killed Goliath. A dramatic reading of the passage and a lot of fun later the group all collected “smooth stones” from the brook as David had done 3,000 years ago. I also showed everyone the 3,000 year old sling stone I found in the Caves of Adullam where David hid with his men.

 We arrived at our beloved Notre Dame Center Hotel owned by the Pope. It is not only gorgeous and elegant like a medieval castle, but it is a way we help support the local Christians and the Vatican.

 Tomorrow is a busy day in Bethlehem and Hebron. You can join us tomorrow by video. We will also have Sunday Mass with the local Christians and seminarians in Bethlehem.