Walking with Abraham

History becomes alive in Israel and other Bible Lands. Not only can well-known Biblical sites that are associated with both the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament be visited, one can also sail across the Sea of Galilee and walk on ancient routes.

Sailing across the Sea of Galilee. Photo: © Leen Ritmeyer

One such route is the Jesus Trail, a 65 km long hike from Nazareth to Capernaum.

The Jesus Trail is a 65-kilometer hiking trail in the Galilee region of Israel which connects important sites from the life of Jesus as well as other historical and religious sites. The Jesus Trail™ offers an alternative for travelers and pilgrims to experience the steps of Jesus in a way that is authentic, adventurous and educational by hiking through the rugged and beautiful landscape of the Galilee in Israel.

The main Jesus Trail hiking route is 65km and begins in Nazareth and passes through Zippori National Park, Cana, Ilaniya, Kibbutz Lavi, the Horns of Hattin, Nebi Shu’eib, Arbel National Park, Migdal, the Jesus Boat at Kibbutz Ginosar, Tabgha, the Mount of Beatitudes, and Capernaum.

A beautiful mosaic floor was found in the dining room (triclinium) of one of the wealthy houses of Sepphoris. At one end of the mosaic floor is the face of a beautiful woman, who was quickly dubbed the "Mona Lisa of Sepphoris".

Another trail is the Israel National Trail:

The Israel National Trail (INT) is a footpath that winds its way nearly 1000 kilometers across Israel, from the Lebanese border in the north to the Red Sea in the south. Because of the way it traverses Israel’s unique physical, ethnic, and religious landscape, the INT is gaining a reputation as one of the world’s great long-distance treks.

The Abraham Path

A new trail is at present being developed by William Ury, of the Harvard University, that will follow in the footsteps of the patriarch Abraham.

The Abraham Path, which is now being marked, begins in Haran and meanders its way to the city Gaziantep. From there, it continues southward, crosses the border into Syria and wends its way to Aleppo. The path then moves south, passes through Damascus before crossing into the kingdom of Jordan and the city Amman. At that point it crosses over to Jericho in the Palestinian Authority, and then to Nablus (Shechem), Jerusalem and Hebron, where Abraham was buried. Additional offshoots of the path follow Abraham’s journeys through Iraq and Israel.

The Israeli archaeologist Avner Goren is preparing a segment between Beersheba and Arad, while other groups are preparing different sections of this trail.

Arad is an ancient Canaanite city in the Negev, mentioned in Numbers 21.1. The Canaanites were initially successful in their fight against Israel, but the tables were soon turned when the Israelites destroyed the city. Arad also features in the list of Canaanite cities that were conquered by the Israelites (Joshua 12.14). The city of Arad extended over a large area and had a sacred precinct. This reconstruction drawing shows the largest of two twin temples that have been excavated. The temple has three rooms, the smaller one of which was the holy of holies. A stone stele was found in the room on the left. In the courtyard stood a large square altar with a stone lined pit, which was used as a ceremonial washing basin, next to it. © Leen Ritmeyer

One can only hope that it will remain peaceful enough in the Middle East to walk on this exciting new historical path.

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