Today we made our way to Nazareth, the childhood home of Jesus. We took a short hike up 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.
This is my 9th group to shoot for and I have been to the holy land many times, but today was one of those days where it really hit me — Jesus really walked here — and so I took some time and walked back down the mountain a different way than the group to pray and really commune with his presence which seemed palpable in those moments.
We then made a visit to one of my favorite churches in the world, the Church of Mary’s Well, a Greek Orthodox Church. 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.
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 the 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 300,000 bottles of wine annually and have won various awards locally and internationally. I have really grown to love this place.