The day began in Bethlehem where we visited the Church of the Nativity. The church is built in three parts: Orthodox, Catholic, and Armenian.
We began by starting in the Orthodox Church.
The Catholic Church, the much newer section, sits next to the Orthodox Church.
The exit of the nativity is the Armenian side.
Underneath the churches is the actual place in which the birth of Jesus took place.
At the star, you can touch the place believed to be where Jesus was born. The star has 14 points symbolizing the generations listed in the Mathew genealogy.
The place where the manger sat was a few feet from the birth spot.
This cave was where the angel told Joseph that he must flee to Egypt.
Also underneath the church was the area where Jerome translated the Latin Vulgate.
After leaving the Church of the Nativity we went to the place where the angels appeared to the shepherds.
We saw the cave and sang Christmas carols where the shepherds kept the sheep.
The dark ceiling of the cave is from the smoke of the shepherds’ fire.
The angels appeared to the shepherds while they were in the fields just outside of Bethlehem.
We left the shepherds’ field on the way to Jericho and the Dead Sea. Along the way we saw Bedouin tribes.
The landscape of Israel changed greatly as we moved farther and farther into the wilderness. This wilderness on the road we were on was the setting for Jesus’ parable of the Good Samaritan.
At the Jordan River, we saw the place where John baptized Jesus. I pray that Jesus might increase in my life as I decrease.
The idea of John living in the wilderness came alive to me as I understood the true desolation he lived in.
Jenn and I decided ahead of time to not get baptized, but we did stick our feet in the water.
After visiting the Jordan River we went to lunch and the Qumran caves. It was within the last century that a child came across the Dead Sea Scrolls. These provided the oldest and most reliable copies of original language manuscripts of the Word of God.
After spending some time at the cave overlook, we stopped at the Dead Sea. This is the lowest point on earth, and the Dead Sea is a lake so salty that you literally float on the water.
Heading back to the hotel we drove through Jericho, which is the oldest city in the world, and saw the Mount of Temptation where Satan tempted Jesus.
Up next, Jerusalem…