Journal: Jesus Trail

Consider yourself privileged if you are reading this. That’s how we felt traversing the foothills in the footprints of Jesus. Perceptions we had about the land going into this trail were soon changed. We could only but be silenced by this experience as we made our way along this route of Jesus from his hometown Nazareth, to Capernaum, his main area of ministry influence.

This 65 kilometer, 5 day hiking trail traverses the lands of Jesus, village to village in the Galilee region of Israel which connects important and other historical sites from the life of Jesus. Following on from our Jesus Trail Tale in 2015, this post tells our Tale as an adaption from our personal journal we wrote as we hiked the rugged steps of Jesus that was not only adventurous and educational, but radically simplistic and authentic.

 

Day 1: Nazareth to Zippori

Made our way by bus to Nazareth to start hiking the Jesus Trail – a 65 km trail from Nazareth to Capernaum, by the Sea of Galilee. It was so hot as we got off the bus in Nazareth. We first went to the Nazareth Village where they depict how life in the time of Jesus would have been like. This was so interesting, especially the olive press. Hiked from Nazareth to just past Zippori where we did “wild camping” – 10.3 km.

Nazareth

Place of a carpenter – Nazareth Village

Zippori

Crusader fortess

 

Day 2: Zippori to Lavi Forest

Hiked 18.8 km today – it’s so tough going because it is so hot. Hiked from Zippori to Lavi Forest via Cana of Galilee where Jesus performed his first miracle of turning water into wine. It is so surreal to think Jesus was here. It got to a point today where Lisa just couldn’t take the heat anymore. Pulling together, we were soon comforted by pouring cool water over each other which helped us both to feel better. We had a nice shower at the camp in Lavi Forest this evening – felt good after that!

Cana

“This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory. And his disciples believed in him.” – John 1:11

Jesus Trail blaze – white yellow white

“After this he went down to Capernaum, with his mother and his brothers and his disciples, and they stayed there for a few days.” – John 2:12

Lavi Forest

 

Day 3: Lavi Forest to Arbel National Park

Today we were supposed to hike less than yesterday, but hiked 21.5 km in 9 hours of intense heat (+-40 degrees). Hiking in this heat without shade is just not fun. We also had to hike the last 10.2 km carrying 9 litres of water because there was no water during that stretch of the trail. Lisa’s feet are hurting. The best place we could find to sleep (the only place) was beside an ancient synagogue just near the Arbel National Park – what an amazing site!

Although together, hiking the Jesus Trail was a lonely experince.

Via Maris or “way of the sea” in background, is an important ancient trade route that linked Egypt via the coast to inland Syria.

Water fountain at Kibbutz Lavi. Agriculture is plentiful in Israel.

Ancient wine press.

Horns of Hattin.

First glimpse of the Sea of Galilee from the Horns of Hattin.

 

Day 4: Arbel National Park to Magdala

Took it “easier” today – only 6.5 km. From Arbel National Park to Migdal where Mary of Magdalene is from. We had an incredible view from the top of Mt Arbel of the Galilee region and the Sea of Galilee! Then a steep climb down the mountain. Halfway down were some caves and a fortress ruin. Camping on Tamar beach on the shore of Sea of Galilee – what a privilege! Jesus walked on these waters and tamed them as well.

Arbel Cliffs

Sea of Galilee, 210 metres below sea level.

“And about the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea.” – Mark 6:48

The Sea of Galilee supplies 50 percent of Israel’s water and is important for agriculture and fishing.

“And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.” – Mark 4:39

 

Day 5: Magdala to Capernaum via Mount of Beatitudes

What a terrible night last night – we went to sleep at 23h00 and were supposed to get up at 04h30 to start walking by latest 07h00 so we could get through the 15 km of walking and get to Tiberias before the last bus left for Jerusalem because its Shabbat and Shavout. But at 02h00 cars pulled up next to us and started setting up camp – loudly! Men didn’t stop talking once… so at 04h00 we eventually decided to just get up and get going. Wow, but the walk was far with such sore feet. But incredible to be at the Mount of Beatitudes and Capernaum. The ruins at Capernaum are very well preserved. A beautiful part of the Sea of Galilee. Caught the 14h00 bus back to Jerusalem and made it back just in time to buy a sandwich for supper at 17h30. All shops were already closed for the weekend. We have to make what little food we have left last until the shops open. So good to have a warm shower again!

Mount of Beatitudes

Mount of Beatitudes – traditional site of the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7)

View north towards Capernaum by the sea.

View south towards Migdal (Magdala) and Arbel Cliffs.

Capernaum

“And he went down to Capernaum, a city of Galilee. And he was teaching them on the Sabbath, and they were astonished at his teaching, for his word possessed authority.” – Luke 4:31-32

Traditional site of Peter’s house, Capernaum (below the modern museum above).

Milestone of the Via Maris that made its way past the city that was Capernaum – the center of Jesus’ ministry.

Special trail. Special God. Jesus. Our King.

 

And leaving Nazareth he went and lived in Capernaum by the sea, in the territory of Zebulun and Naphtali, so that what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled:

  “The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali,
    the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles—
  the people dwelling in darkness
    have seen a great light,
  and for those dwelling in the region and shadow of death,
    on them a light has dawned.” – Matthew 14:13-16

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