100_0874Hotel Overlooking the Mediterranean Sea in Netanya, Israel

Macrina Wiederkehr O.S.B, a spiritual poetess, penned the phrase, ‘take off your shoes for the ground on which you stand is holy.‘ On a recent pilgrimage to the Holy Land that is exactly the feeling I experienced when stepping onto Israeli soil.  And although I certainly appreciated the hustle/bustle to be found in the seaside city of  Tel Aviv … for me the highlight of the trip was footprinting the places where Jesus walked, taught and preached during his three-year ministry upon the earth.

Our tour (organized through Nawas International) was fortunate to have an Israeli guide who was well-informed about the country’s history as well as Bible history, and one of the things I appreciated most was his honesty. At each historic site he was quick to inform as to its  authenticity (proven via archaeological finds), as well as revealing the sites situated in the vicinity of the event, but not yet authenticated.

100_0909Boating on the Sea of Galilee

Being somewhat geographically challenged, I was most surprised to find so many of Bible history’s important cities near or at the edge of bodies of water. As well as learning that the majority of Jesus’ ministry was performed in the area surrounding the Sea of Galilee.

It seems there’s always something new to be learned in life, no matter the age or experience.

000_0020Carrying the Cross on the Via Dolorosa

And whether we were walking the Via Dolorosa (the path to Christ’s crucifixion) in dawn’s early light, hiking up the Mount of Olives (where Jesus preached and prophesied), strolling in the Garden of Gethsemane (where He prayed, and was betrayed), treading in the land of Cana (site of the first miracle), observing a baptism at the Jordan river, boating upon the Sea of Galilee, visiting the Wailing Wall or floating in the waters of the Dead Sea, the entire experience was surreal. To walk into history to places read about your entire  life is difficult to wrap your head around, and frankly two weeks after my journey I am still processing it all.

As Editor/Writer for the San Clemente Journal ( I will be telling the entire story of this journey in our August, September, October edition. If you would like to continue walking upon this holy ground with me … be sure and check it out at the magazine site or later in the Wanderings section of this blog.

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