Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Nazareth and Mount Tabor

We left the resort in Jenin for Mount Tabor to visit the site of the Transfiguration of Jesus at the summit of the mountain. To arrive at the holy mountain, we passed through the Jezreel Valley, which is the area where Naboth would not relinquish his land to the king that wanted to exchange his land for Naboth's. Naboth held onto it because it was very fertile. The Valley extends from Haifa down into the Jenin and is the grain basket of Israel.

The church is stunning in its magnificence and the glory of the Lord is captured well in the building's architecture. It does appear to be a place of transfiguration. The brilliance of the gold that outlines the mosiacs is splendid. It is the highest mountain in the area and it is a vantage point to see the vast beauty of the Jezreel Valley.

A favorite part for me was to the ironwork statue that depicts Jesus coming down from the cross momentarity so that he may console dear Francis.

It also is the area where Nain is located. Jesus brought a widow's dead son back to life restoring her livelihood. It called to mind Elijah's raising of the widow's son in Zarephath.

At the base of Nazareth is the area where the courageous Deborah fought for four tribes of Israel who were sent to occupy the land. The tribes were discouraged because they had no modern weapons to face the inhabitants. The word Nazar, from which Nazareth is named, means to guard. Nazareth, therefore, guards the Jezreel Valley.

Nazareth is percentage-wise the most populated Christian village in Israel and the West Bank. They make up about 40% of the population.

In Nazareth, we first visited Mary's Well, which was the spring at which Mary and the other women of the small village of 200 families would have drawn their daily water. At the base of the spring, we also saw the place considered to be Joseph's workshop. We passed by a real carpenter's shop who was using a plane to smooth out the wood products.

We dined at the Abu Alaa restaurant with an Italian fare. We had spaghetti, cole slaw, roast beef and potatoes, and some fresh macaroons for dessert.

We then walked to the Basilica of the Annunciation where the Angel Gabriel visited Mary's house. Her house is encapsulated in the lower floor of the basilica, which is darkened to represent the people who lived in darkness prior to the Annunciation. The upper room is light and spacious to indicate the presence of the Holy Spirit descending upon Mary. The shape of Basilica is said to be in the form of a lilly.

We celebrated at mass and one of the pilgrims played the main organ. The day was ending and we were the last group of pilgrims in the church so it was fascinating to see the filtered light set upon the day.

From there we drove to Haifa on the Mediterranean to stay at the Golden Crown Hotel. This hotel feels luxurious.

To see photos of Nazareth and Mount Tabor, click on the link below:


            





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