Early this morning, the pilgrims left Jerusalem for Tiberius where they will be for the next four nights.
Today's visits included the Pater Noster church, where Our Lord taught his disciples the Lord's Prayer. The cloister walls are covered with tiles displaying the Lord's Prayer in over one hundred and fifty languages.
We also visited Bethany, the home of Jesus' friends, Martha, Mary and Lazarus. There was a beautifully cool garden with a fountain at the centre of it. Nearby is the tomb of Lazarus, where we reflected on the first words of the Prayer Book funeral service: I am the resurrection and the life, saith the Lord: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: and whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. (S John 11.25-26). This was also the first time that many of us had seen a biblical mustard tree.
Our next stop was at a boys' home and co-ed school whose Arabic name translates as 'generation of hope'. This school is clearly a place of deep love and care for children from a wide range of backgrounds, many of them orphaned or rejected by their own families. Both the children and the staff were enthusiastic in their welcome.
In nearby Jericho, we passed the early excavations, saw a sycamore tree which commemorates the story of Zaccheaus, and saw what is regarded as the mountain on which Jesus was tempted. We paid a very short visit to a place where we could be adjacent to the River Jordan. Owing to the extreme temperatures, we were unable to celebrate Holy Communion and renew our baptismal promises in the open air.