We took the Suez Canal to Haifa which took about ten hours to travel. To celebrate this event, we dressed up in our Arab clothes that we bought along the way specifically for this fun deck party.
Our cruise ship docked in Haifa which is Israel’s third largest city with residents from the three largest religions. Nine percent consist of Arabs (Muslim and Christian). The Bahai’s World Center is located in the city. The Bahai’s separated from Iran’s Shi’ite Islam in 1844. There are Jewish communities called kabooks which are self sustaining and may be closed to new members. There are also some mixed neighborhoods in the large cities. Palestine is walled off from Israel and there are Israel military check points for non Israel citizens. Israel citizens have a different color license plate than Palestine residents so that cars can be easily identified. Bedouin tents and shepherds are seen in areas where Muslims live outside the cities.
Our private tour guide picked Lisa and I up at they port and we began our journey to visit sites following the life of Jesus. He also carried a gun and I felt very safe. I am getting used to everyone being armed. Our first stop was NAZARETH to see where Jesus spent his childhood and youth. The Basilica of the Annuciation was built on the site where the angel Gabriel visited the Virgin Mary to tell her she would conceive by the power of the Holy Spirit.
We then drove to the SEA OF GALILEE where Jesus traveled with his disciples. He turned water to wine, feed the 5,000 with fish and bread and walked on water.
We visited the area where Jesus preached the Sermon on the Mount. Small groups were singing around the area.
Our tour guide surprised us with trip to the Jordan River in the area where Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist. This was a very special baptism for us.
We continued the road along the Jordon River where Jesus walked to JERUSALEM. Other than the road being paved, the land looks much the same as it did when Jesus made this journey.
We stayed that night at Christ Church Ministry Center, in a bed and breakfast next to the first protestant church in the middle east. We attended a three hour spirit filled church service with beautiful music and Holy Communion.
The next morning we started with our tour guide at 6:45am. We headed to the Mount of Olives above the Garden of Gethsemane and saw the city of Jerusalem.
Christians were having a gathering with music near the Garden of Gethsemane which added to the moment of walking where Jesus walked.
The Dome of the Rock on the Temple Mount is in the heart of the Old City of Jerusalem and was built in the late 7th century and is sacred to Muslims all over the world. The Via Dolorosa (Road of Sorrow) is a narrow path through the Old City (filled with Muslim merchant stalls) beginning at the Lion’s Gate and ending at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher near the Dome of the Rock. This is the path Jesus walked with his cross.
The Western Wall is the most sacred site for Jews. The wall forms part of the retaining support structure for the Temple Mount. The Western Wall if adjacent to the Dome of the Rock.
The Church of the Holy Sepulcher is built over the sites where Jesus is believed to have been crucified and buried. The church is located 2,300 feet west of the Dome of the Rock.
Mount Zion is the site of the Last Supper and the location of David’s tomb. This hill over looks the Old City.
Our last stop was Bethlehem to the birthplace of Jesus just outside of Jerusalem in Palestine.
We completed our emotional journey from Jesus conception to his resurrection.