Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Nazareth: Mount Precipice and Nazareth Village

Today, we will venture to a familiar place to many of us, Nazareth.  I was really looking forward to visiting this city with such wonderful biblical significance.   
As we journeyed along, I was overwhelmed by the landscape.  Such immense mountains and cliffs seemed to rise up around us.  I just loved the cloud formations in the above photo.
This photo of the church on the cliff you have seen before, but I just love the study in contrasts it presents. 

This photo is my first view of the Jezreel valley.  It is in this valley that Deborah led the armies of Israel.  Gideon also fought battles here.  You can see the mist hovering over the valley.
In the distance is Mount Tabor, an important geographic point in Scripture. 

Once the bus stopped, we had arrived at Mount Precipice.  This picture shows Dan and Pastor Wells close to the cliff.  This area is where the crowd attempted to push Jesus off the cliff after he had spoken in the synagogue:

Luke 4:16-30 (NRSV)
16 When he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, he went to the synagogue on the sabbath day, as was his custom. He stood up to read,
17 and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written:
18 "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free,
19 to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor."
20 And he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. The eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him.
21 Then he began to say to them, "Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing."
22 All spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his mouth. They said, "Is not this Joseph's son?"
23 He said to them, "Doubtless you will quote to me this proverb, 'Doctor, cure yourself!' And you will say, 'Do here also in your hometown the things that we have heard you did at Capernaum.'"
24 And he said, "Truly I tell you, no prophet is accepted in the prophet's hometown.
25 But the truth is, there were many widows in Israel in the time of Elijah, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, and there was a severe famine over all the land;
26 yet Elijah was sent to none of them except to a widow at Zarephath in Sidon.
27 There were also many lepers in Israel in the time of the prophet Elisha, and none of them was cleansed except Naaman the Syrian."
28 When they heard this, all in the synagogue were filled with rage.
29 They got up, drove him out of the town, and led him to the brow of the hill on which their town was built, so that they might hurl him off the cliff.
30 But he passed through the midst of them and went on his way.

The following images are more of the Jezreel valley from the cliff perspective.  I was overwhelmed at how green and beautiful the valley was.

Here is a close up of the cliff.
I didn't venture too far to the edge!  Being in this place helped me to understand how miraculous it was that Jesus passed through the crowd unscathed.

After our visit to Mount Precipice, we journeyed to the Nazareth Village, which is a wonderful recreation of what Nazareth might have been like during the time of Jesus. 
This picture always makes me want to sing, "Give me oil in my lamp, keep me burning, burning, burning!"  Anyone else familiar with that tune?  If you would like to sing along, click here. :)

The piece of olive wood gives information about different ways olive wood has been used for thousands of years.
Entering the next part of the Nazareth Village through the "narrow gate".
Here our tour guide Ronny was showing us a map of Israel.
This replica was modeled after what a carpenter's shop might have looked like.  At this stop we learned that the word used for carpenter for Joseph may also have been more of a general craftsman, so he may have worked with other materials, including stone.  In fact, the place we visited after Nazareth, Sephoris, is where Mary's parents are traditionally thought to have lived and that city was being built during the time of Jesus.  It is possible that Jesus may have traveled to this nearby town with Joseph to help with the building.
In the center of this image is a scroll and our guide told us about what Jesus' schooling may have been like when he was growing up.
The circle is what a threshing floor would have looked like. 
At this point on our tour, we were outside and it began to rain.
Here, Ronny was telling us about how this rock formation was used as a water channel, a wine press, and a cistern.
This picture is of the sheep pen.  It has no gate because the shepherd is the gate.  What a wonderful Shepherd we have!  This image made the idea of Jesus as the Good Shepherd so much clearer in my mind.
Here is the watch tower looking over the wine press to protect it from foxes and other thieves.
An almond tree.
A fig tree.
A closeup of the wine press and water cistern.
The gethsemane (olive press).  In the village there was a special building where the olive oil was made.  Our guide shared with us what time and effort was required to achieve the finished product.
Also, people demonstrated different crafts in the village.  Here is a carpenter building a trough.

This image is what a kitchen may have looked like at the time.
There was also a lady who demonstrated weaving.  Here she is showing us how they made yarn from the wool.
Behind her is the weaving she has been working on using a loom.
These colors of wool represent colors that would have been available using natural dyes.
Here you can see the instrument used to card the wool on the right and the carded wool on the left that is used to make yarn.
More supplies.
A really special area to me was the reproduction of the synagogue.  After reading the text earlier about Jesus teaching in the synagogue, I felt like going into the synagogue gave me a clearer picture of what that place may have been like. 
The windows were up high and close to the roof.
Steps wrapped around the area where people could sit to listen.
In the center was a table with a scroll.  The person reading would have stood for the reading and then sat for discussion.

This image is of the ceiling.
More windows -- I just couldn't get enough of the beautiful light filtering through. :)
One of my absolute favorite pictures of the trip is of this door. 

Outside the synagogue were a few animals.

At the end of our journey we entered a room with these different oil lamps on various shelves, giving off beautiful light.  We were each given an oil lamp to take home and it is a very special momento from this experience.
And appropriately hanging on the wall in the midst of all of these lamps was this sign:
 John 8:12


  1. So beautiful, Carroll! The overcast and dreary weather makes everything even MORE majestic than it already all is. Thanks for sharing.

    PS. The olive wood is so beautiful!

  2. What a cool experience. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Hi Carroll - thanks for sharing these beautiful and inspiring photos and for adding so much relevant information along with them. I haven't been there and to see these areas in present day adds so much more meaning when reviewing the Bible...

    Best Wishes and Thanks again-
    Linda (aka Beachside Cottage)


Thanks so much for stopping by! I love reading your comments. :)