Would geography really help to bring things alive, I now can answer yes. For even though I could pick up a map and locate the villages, mountains, ravines and the like, there is nothing that puts it into perspective than the climbing and seeing it first hand. Seeing that Prophets and Kings, Judges and the ordinary man walked and ruled here, for me this surrounding area around Mount Precipice was a learning moment. Finding out that much has happened surrounding that area has made Me more alive to the Bible.
Sepphoris, a possible location for Mary to have lived was a place of beauty and teaching. The Byzantine mosaics were astonishing and although they present an alternative view from the mosaics positioned in Jerusalem, they bring alive the environment at the time that the visual is part of the teaching methods within religious schooling. It is also here that Joseph may have taken young Jesus to practice their trade of a carpenter. This was the first time I had been presented with the fact that “carpenter” meant not just working with wood, but working in all materials— a general contractor of sorts in ancient Israel. It is clear to me now that as Jesus understood the building practices as well as the farming lands surrounding his upbringing, He would be able to talk and reach those in the villages through parables using these very visuals as references. I mean, how cool is that?! This allows me to think about the parable in today’s churches and the messaging that we can use today that references the world today in the same way it reached out to those who listened to Jesus.
The cliffs of Arbel were another juncture that I have to say God has been working on my fears of trying new things and attempting activities that I normally would not even try in life. The climb was an amazing group activity! With the expanse of the world below, one was able to see the geographical locations that Jesus influenced that would soon influence the rest of the world. An amazing day!