Monday, November 13, 2017

Nablus and Jenin

We left Bethlehem today and headed straight into the heart of the Palestinian Territory, just northwest of Jerusalem. Nablus was founded in 72 AD by the Flavian Emperors and was built on the northern slope of Mount Gerizim.

We first visited a Samaritan village, which is made famous by the Good Samaritan and the Woman at the Well. Visiting the area makes real how shocking it was that Samaritans would have been the one who helped the robbed victim at the side of the road. Samaritans have always tried to live up to this reputation as being a good and kindly people. Samaritans respect only the Pentateuch, the first five books of the Bible (Hebrew Scriptures.) Their prophets end with Moses and they do not have any Old Testament literature after Deuteronomy. They are descendants of Joseph's clan.

Mount Gerizim is the location where Moses entered into Palestine from wandering in the desert and set up the first altar. Jacob's Well is in the area. The woman at the well describes that her people worship God from Mount Gerizim while the Jews worship God in Jerusalem, which the Samaritans do not accept. The Samaritans hold Gerizim in the same regard as the Jews do the Temple Mount. It was forbidden for a Jew to speak to a Samaritan, or for a woman, and Jesus held her in high regard. She believed that he was the one who possessed eternal life, and she ran to tell the villagers about the one who is the Son of God.

We then took a bus break in a small town where we enjoyed a Middle Eastern sweet called Kanafeh. It was cream cheese in it and pistachio-sugared water. We enjoyed eating 2,000 calories worth of sweets. Then we set off for the church.

We had our church musicians prepare music for the mass at a tiny village called Rafidia We kept the readings focused on the Samaritan Woman and the Good Samaritan. Then we traveled to Sebastia for a late lunch. Some associate the head of John the Baptist with Sebastia. There are Roman ruins, a Hellenistic Tower, and many vineyards and olive groves.

After lunch we climbed the hillside to watch the setting sun and then do a little shopping. We were supposed to go to the Church of Burgin, the third oldest church in Christianity, the site where Jesus cured the ten lepers.

We finally arrived at the Palestinian Resort in Jenin for a night of relaxation and comfort.

To see photos of North Central Palestine, click on the link below:


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