Friday, 8 February 2013

North of Jerusalem

North of Jerusalem: Shechem (Nablus);  and then Bethany

This morning we headed an hour north to the town of Nablus. Nablus is significant to the pilgrim for a number of reasons. It is the place where Jacob re-established one of Abraham’s wells, and the well is there to this day and has always been known as “Jacob’s Well.” It is in what was the ancient town of Shechem. After the kingdom of Israel divided into the north and south, a temple was established at Shechem by the Samaritans - an offshoot of Judaism. It was also at this Jacob’s Well that Jesus met the Samaritan woman.

It was at this Jacob’s Well where I found myself today!! To be at the very place where Jesus ministered to the Samaritan woman. To drink the water out of the well that Jesus would have had water out of. To say it was an amazing experience is an understatement. 

Jacob's Well

Drinking water from the well that Jesus would have drank from

As amazing as it was to be in such a holy place, and to drink water out of a well that Jesus would have had water, when I was up in the Greek Orthodox Church above the well reflecting on the experience, I did remember what Jesus said to the Samaritan woman: 

“Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again; but whoever drinks the water I shall give will never thirst; the water I shall give will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” It is an amazing experience for the pilgrim to drink water from this holy place, but the real water of eternal life is to be found within us wherever we are. Even in Conception Bay North!!

A Samaritan Priest

We then had the privilege of meeting the Samaritan Priest in the Samaritan synagogue on Mount Gerizem. There are only 750 Samaritans left in the world. The location of the ruins of the ancient temple on Mount Gerizem is now occupied by the Israeli army.

The beautiful country in the West Bank, Palestine

As our excursions have brought us deeper into the Palestinian West Bank, it is easy to understand the frustration of the Palestinian people as more and more Israeli settlements are being put into place on Palestinian land, and the Palestinian people are helpless to stop the Israeli’s from expanding into their land.

Lazarus' Tomb
After a beautiful lunch in the Palestinian City of Nablus (with a population of 250,000 people), we made our way back to south side of Jerusalem to the town of Bethany. Lazarus, Mary and Martha had a home in Bethany where Jesus would stay. Bethany is also the place where Jesus, four days after Lazarus had died, called him to life out of the tomb. I had the opportunity today to stand near that holy place.

Outside of the tomb. Maybe near to where Jesus was standing when he called Lazarus out.
I am really feeling like I am walking in Jesus’ footsteps. This pilgrimage is turning out to be much more than I had hoped it would be.

Tomorrow we head north to Galilee, and will spend four days following Jesus’ ministry around the sea of Galilee. 

1 comment:

Mark Nichols said...

Enjoy your time in the Galilee my friend. God bless you on your pilgrimage.