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Author Archives: Betsy Fisher Rhodes

Students use Jesus Trail as Classroom

Following close in the footsteps of Jesus Trail’s oldest hiker, Merrill, students from Eastern Mennonite University in Virginia converted the Jesus Trail into an outdoor classroom. The 17 students hiked the trail as part of a three-month semester abroad program in the Middle East. Led by Professor Linford Stutzman, the students had already studied Arabic […]

Palm Sunday in Nazareth

All morning we heard the bells. Other than their ever joyful clang, the streets of the Old City were quiet on this warm Sunday morning, but as we sauntered down the deserted avenues in our Sunday best, trickles of well-dressed families joined our descent towards the Basilica. Suddenly we came out onto Casa Nova street […]

Meet Merrill, Jesus Trail’s Oldest Hiker at 91

Climbing from the Old City of Nazareth, out over muddy paths, onto Zippori, a group of Jesus Trail hikers straddled rushing water in the path, knocked mud off shoes, stopped for lunch under rain clouds, and kept hiking. But this was no ordinary group of hikers. Among the hikers, Merrill Ohlson walked along at a […]

Nazareth’s Old City Souq

No visit to Nazareth is complete without a visit to the Old City Souq (market). Six days a week (Sunday the market becomes still and at rest) the winding streets just below the Fauzi Azar Inn and surrounding the White Mosque are crowded with sellers and buyers, locals and visitors. A visit may reward you […]

Changing Lenses in Cana

One never knows what an adventure will include.  Perhaps that is why we go looking for them.  Often, however, they find us before we are prepared to fully process them.  I find that my imagination and expectations are often too narrow for the fabulous adventures of daily life.  The Jesus Trail provides a framework for […]

Day 2: Roman Roads and Spring Valleys

Ilaniya to Moshav Arbel in First-Century Costume Day two of the hike began with a light rain before dawn but as the sun rose we knew it was going to be a beautiful day.  We ate boiled eggs, bread and cheese, and dried dates for breakfast, then hit the trail.  In a few minutes we […]

Day 1: Valentine’s Day, Jesus Style

Nazareth to Ilaniya in First-Century Costume Valentine’s Day 2011 was a good day. Because they did not celebrate Valentine’s Day in the first century, we did things they might have done on a typical day, like walking, dressing in a head scarf and robe, talking with friends, making a fire, cooking lentils, picking red anemones […]

Preparing for the First-Century Journey at Nazareth Village

Sitting on a dusty rug in a dimly lit stone room, my knees bumped a little girl on one side and her mother on the other. Friends of ours from Nazareth, they had come to experience an evening as our guests. The spread we offered was not what most people consider elaborate, but all who […]

Spring Returns to the Jesus Trail

It is winter in the Galilee. This morning as I looked out my window I smiled to see the gray sky showering rain down on all the dusty land around. Green pops up so soon after the rains begin. Swaths of grass roll themselves out on the hills around Nazareth. And in only a day […]

The Journey of the Magi

Most of us grew up singing “The 12 Days of Christmas.”  The archaic gifts in the story played with our childish imaginations, but most of us probably had only a vague idea of it’s meaning.  Although the song is English (or perhaps French) in origin, the song’s rich gifting harks back to the first Christmas […]

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