Day 3, Part 1: Cana, Nazareth, Mary’s Well, Mt. Precipice

Continuing our tour with Ecclesia Houston led by Breaking Bread Journeys, I am dividing Day 3 into 2 parts as I ended up taking quite a few photos today.

We started our day in Cana, where, according to John’s Gospel 2:1-11, Jesus performed his first miracle by turning water into wine for a wedding celebration. The married couples of our group took the opportunity to renew their wedding vows in a very moving group ceremony led by Pastor Chris Seay in one of the gardens of the Franciscan Wedding Church at Cana. I find it beautiful that Jesus’ first miracle was at performed at the celebration of a marriage.

After Cana, we made our way to Nazareth, the childhood home of Jesus. We enjoyed one of my favorite churches in the world, the The Greek Orthodox Church of the Annunciation. I enjoy this church because of its simplicity contrasted with a subtle intricacy in the woodwork and muted tones of the murals and lamps. This humble church sits atop a natural spring which would have most likely been the spot from which the ancient community well of Nazareth was sourced.

The waters of the spring issue from a mountain known as Jabal as-Sikh and flow through an underground channel in the rock for 17 meters (56 ft) before emerging in the church. As recently as the 20th century, they continued on underground from there for another 130 meters to emerge in the public fountain known as Mary’s Well. It is probable that Mary drew water from this well for the holy family. The murals and iconography in the church are beautifully done, depicting various stories from the Bible along with icons of various Biblical figures.

We then took a short hike to Mt. Precipice for some beautiful panoramic views over the Jezreel Valley. It is believed by many to be the site of the Rejection of Jesus described in Luke 4:14-30. In this passage, Jesus proclaims himself as the one described in Isaiah, saying,

“The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

The people of Nazareth, not accepting Jesus as Messiah tried to push him from the mountain, but “he passed through the midst of them and went away.” The mount is situated on the southern edge of the city and provides beautiful views of the valley below and Mt. Tabor (Mount of Transfiguration) seen as an isolated peak to the east.

Day 2: Nazareth, Mary’s Well, Mt. Precipice, Tulip Winery

Today we made our way to Nazareth, the childhood home of Jesus. We enjoyed one of my favorite churches in the world, the Church of Mary’s Well. It is believed that this humble church sits atop a natural spring which would have most likely been the spot from which the ancient community well of Nazareth was sourced. So it is probable that Mary drew water from this well for the holy family. The murals and iconography in the church are beautifully done and very inspiring.

We then took a short hike to Mt. Precipice for some beautiful panoramic views. It is believed by many to be the site of the Rejection of Jesus described in Luke 4:29-30 – The people of Nazareth, not accepting Jesus as Messiah tried to push him from the mountain, but “he passed through the midst of them and went away.” The mount is situated on the southern edge of the city and provides beautiful views of the valley below and Mt. Tabor (Mount of Transfiguration) seen as an isolated peak to the east. The beautiful views provided for some great shots of the group.

After that, we were ready for lunch and a wine tasting at Tulip Winery (יקב טוליפ). I love the cause behind Tulip, which employs 35 special needs adults who live in the village where the winery is located, a former kibbutz. The village’s name means “Village of Hope.”

There they say “Labels are for wine bottles, not for people.” They were founded with a purpose of providing special needs adults with employment and the support of community on the former kibbutz where they’re located. Started as a tiny boutique winery in 2003, now they are shipping over 500,000 bottles of wine annually and have won various awards locally and internationally. I have really grown to love this place.

Lastly, we arrived at our hotel on the south shore of the Sea of Galilee just in time for a breathtaking sunset.

Ecclesia with Breaking Bread Journeys: Mt. Precipice, Mary’s Well, Tulip Winery

Today we started our tour in Nazareth, the childhood home of Jesus. We took a short hike to Mt. Precipice. It is believed by many to be the site of the Rejection of Jesus described in Luke 4:29-30 – The people of Nazareth, not accepting Jesus as Messiah tried to push him from the mountain, but “he passed through the midst of them and went away.” The mount is situated on the southern edge of the city and provides beautiful views of the valley below and Mt. Tabor (Mount of Transfiguration) seen as an isolated peak to the east.

Day3_Galilee-1Day3_Galilee-2-2Day3_Galilee-3Day3_Galilee-4Day3_Galilee-5Day3_Galilee-7Day3_Galilee-6Day3_Galilee-8

Next we visited Mary’s Well, which is believed to be located at the site where Christians hold that the Angel Gabriel appeared to Mary and announced that she would bear the Son of God, an event known as the Annunciation.

Found just below the Greek Orthodox Church of the Annunciation in modern-day Nazareth, the well was positioned over an underground spring that served for centuries as a local watering hole for the Arab villagers. The actual well-spring is difficult to see down a dark passage, but I did manage to get some shots of the beautiful interior of the Greek Orthodox church; Greek iconography is one of my favorite art forms.

Day3_Galilee-13Day3_Galilee-11Day3_Galilee-43Day3_Galilee-9Day3_Galilee-12Day3_Galilee-14Day3_Galilee-10Day3_Galilee-45

For lunch we spent the afternoon hearing the beautiful story of Tulip Winery. The Israeli winery employs special needs adults who make their home in the village of Kfar Tikvah where the winery is located, in the Haifa District. We met some of these wonderful people whose lives have been transformed through the healing of having a job they love, where they are appreciated and valued. We were treated to a delicious lunch and an unforgettable wine tasting. We were blessed by our host Lital who you could tell was very passionate about the cause behind Tulip, which employs 35 special needs adults who live in the village where the winery is located, a former kibbutz. The village’s name appropriately means “Village of Hope.”

Day3_Galilee-20Day3_Galilee-21Day3_Galilee-23Day3_Galilee-22Day3_Galilee-25Day3_Galilee-32Day3_Galilee-27Day3_Galilee-26Day3_Galilee-24Day3_Galilee-30Day3_Galilee-17Day3_Galilee-28Day3_Galilee-16Day3_Galilee-29Day3_Galilee-18Day3_Galilee-35Day3_Galilee-31Day3_Galilee-44Day3_Galilee-36Day3_Galilee-33Day3_Galilee-34Day3_Galilee-37Day3_Galilee-38

Lastly, we came back to our hotel where we enjoyed a dinner with wine pairings, hosted by the Scots Hotel’s resident winemaker, Denis. They have a beautiful wine cellar…

Day3_Galilee-41Day3_Galilee-39Day3_Galilee-42