I had been walking for three days, from Nazareth via Sepphoris, Cana, Kibbutz Lavi, the Horns of Hattin and Mount Arbel to Tiberias. There, I had upgraded to a bicycle to circle the Sea of Galilee.
The sun is burning relentlessly, although it is only March. I am still completely exhausted from the half marathon I ran in Jerusalem, just before the hike. And there is almost no water to be found along the trail. Except in the lake, of course. But I mean water that’s clean, without some prophet having put his feet into.
A church on top of a hill catches my eye. The beautiful view can already be imagined from below, the toll it will take to get there not. I have to dismount and push the bike. The hill turns out to be a mountain. Which is logical, because this is where Jesus delivered the Sermon on the Mount. The most important place of Christianity is not in Rome, not in Bethlehem, not in Jerusalem. No, it was on this mountain one Friday night that Christianity was founded. With this speech, Jesus turned from a Jewish rebel into the founder of a new religion. (Many Christian readers will be shocked now: “What do you mean, Jesus was Jewish?”)
My hopes rest on Jesus as well. Especially on sura 7 sentence 37 from the Gospel of John:
Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink.
And indeed, in the garden in front of the enormous church, the interior of which reminds me of the train stations built during Italian fascism, a fountain gushes, as promised by the master. Palm trees grow around the water hole. The sound of the water feels like an oasis in the desert.
In front of the pond, the above Bible verse is quoted. And next to it a secular sign: “water not for drink”.
- More stories from Israel. – It occurs to me that I haven’t even written about hiking the Jesus Trail yet. Let me know if you are interested. Of course, this will be theologically well-grounded, as you have come to expect from this blog.
- All postcards from this series.
- Supporters of this blog actually receive real postcards from my travels. From the world’s holiest sites.