Galilee: Day Three

The day began with a climb up Mount Tabor in mini van taxis to the Crusader Church of the Transfiguration. Below it was raining and on top the mountain was shrouded in clouds. As we had experienced each day in Galilee, it rained when we had shelter, and it cleared up as we were out in the open.
So the clouds and the storm blew by and we were left with a magnificent view of the Jezreel Valley below. The Mount of Transfiguration was transfigured before us.  It was awesome. The crusader church is beautiful with light streaming in through the upper windows, a mass being held while we were visiting, and Paula led a devotion on the transfiguration, which took place before Jesus began to announce his death and it must have bolstered the disciples for the days ahead leading to Jerusalem.
Beth Shean is one of the Decapolis, the ten cities from which people came to follow Jesus. This is a magnificent Roman city with bathhouse, theater and public latrine.
I was reminded that day of Luke 10:
  • Was this a city Jesus would have sent the 72 to in order to enter into the house, offer peace? 
  • It wasn't a backwater town, but a sophisticated roman town where good news could spread through communication channels like bathhouses and the marketplace.
  • Also Luke 10 is about entering in, recieving hospitality, eating and drinking what is placed before us.
But the end of our day was truly miraculous and surprising. Our driver invited us to his synagogue in a small village. He showed us how he prays with the filactories and shawl, and then invited us to his mother's house for tea with mint and cookies. What an amazing display of hospitality! Not on our itinerary, not planned. A gift.
We entered into Nissan's mother's (imma) house and recieved this amazing gift. It was humbling, grace-filled and an honor for us all.

At the end of our time I asked Nissan to translate into Hebrew the Aaron blessing as I recited it. "The Lord bless you and keep you, the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you. The Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you his peace, now and forever more." Then I asked him to say it to us in Hebrew. We returned the blessing by singing the doxology.

Nissan proudly showed us the picture of his grandfather from Kyrgyzstan. The only picture he owned, his passport picture.

We pinched ourselves as we boarded the bus. We asked our guide Zeev if he had ever had a driver invite one of his tour groups to come to his mother's house. No. Never. Why us? Only God knows.

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