We are walking the Jesus Trail, from Nazareth to
Capernaum (on the Sea of Galilee), as noted in the Gospel of Matthew (4:13):
“Leaving Nazareth, he [Jesus] went and lived in Capernaum which was by the lake.”
We walk toward the Basilica of the Annunciation, the beginning of the Jesus Trail.
The basilica is a major tourist destination although Orthodox Christians have built a church marking an alternate site for this event (the Angel Gabriel’s announcement to Mary that she will conceive Jesus).
After passing the basilica, market, and many shops, we climb a hill and see the Mensa Christi Church. Inside is a stone table (table of Christ) where Jesus and his disciples shared a meal after the resurrection. Some scholars argue that the authentic “table of Christ” cannot be in Nazareth because it is too far from Jerusalem.
We reach a high point within the city of Nazareth.
We leave the city, following the Jesus Trail. We pass “depopulated villages,” places left behind by Palestinians in 1948, when Israel became a nation and war broke out. People fled for their lives and were not allowed to return.
We follow the Jesus trail. The blazes indicate the different trails that coincide with our path, the Jesus Trail.
It is the same with spiritual paths; many coincide.
In the city of Mash’had (birthplace of Jonah; 2 Kings 14:25). We see a mosque with the tomb of Jonah.
“For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” (Matthew 12:40)
We talk with a Muslim guy there. “We have only Muslims [in Mesh’had],” he says.
I say to him, “Hello” and “How are you?” in Arabic.
He tells us that Orthodox Jews wish to conduct rituals regarding Jonah there, making conflicts over this.
An alternate tomb of Jonah exists in Ninevah, the city where the fish cast Jonah out after it swallowed him. There are conflicts even with regard to the location of Jonah’s tomb.
We walk out of Mash’had.
We approach the city of Cana, where Jesus and his disciples attended a wedding.
Israeli towns are filled with trash and junk. We see litter everywhere. This seems to be part of the culture here.
As described in the Gospel of John (2:1-11):
“On the third day there was a wedding at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. 2 Jesus also was invited to the wedding with his disciples. 3 When the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” 4 And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does this have to do with me? My hour has not yet come.” 5 His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” 6 Now there were six stone water jars there for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. 7 Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. 8 And he said to them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the feast.” So they took it. 9 When the master of the feast tasted the water now become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the master of the feast called the bridegroom 10 and said to him, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and when people have drunk freely, then the poor wine. But you have kept the good wine until now.” 11 This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory. And his disciples believed in him.”
This church, and other Christian churches in Israel, seem to emphasize Christmas trees — demarcating Christians and Muslims.
I walk toward the altar.
Excavations have unearthed a huge water jug, seemingly too large for the Biblical story, but who knows?
Greek Orthodox Christians have built a church on an alternate site of the water-to-wine miracle.
Lao tsu writes (chapter 71):
“Not-knowing is true knowledge.
Presuming to know is a disease.
First realize that you are sick;
then you can move toward health.
The Master is her own physician.
She has healed herself of all knowing.
Thus she is truly whole.”
Many ancient artifacts have been found beneath the church in Cana, but scholars cannot agree about what it all means.
The locations of the announcement to Mary, the first miracle of Jesus, or the tomb of Jonah — are not known. Do differences in belief inevitably lead to conflict?
Why can’t Catholics, Protestants, Greek Orthodox, Muslims get along? Why is there so much conflict?
There is no shortage of people who feel that they know the truth based on their faith.
Lao tsu says that presuming to know is a disease.
Those who heal themselves of this disease become whole.