There is no doubt that traveling to Israel helps an individual view history through a new set of lenses. Cities such as Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Nazareth and Jericho become more than just biblical names.
Father Jun De Campo of the Archdiocese of Cologne told 86 Christian pilgrims from the archdiocese’s Filipino communities he had a simple objective for them during an April 15 pilgrimage to the Holy Land.
“When you get in touch with the Holy Land you are spiritually closer to God,” De Campo said. “Although God’s place is in our heart, he created us with a purpose. We must understand, what does he want for us so we can better understand his will.”
The pilgrims found De Campos’ words to be true as they traveled to cities including Tiberias, Nazareth, Cana, Galilee, Caesarea, Bethlehem and Jericho. They spent the last six nights in Jerusalem.
From Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv, the pilgrims took their first bus ride to Tiberias where they spent the first three nights. Tiberias is one of Israel’s four Holy Cities, and is located on the western shore of the Sea of Galilee. The city is more than 2,000 years old and includes Roman ruins.
Nazareth is the place where Jesus lived as a child, and many pilgrims visit the city. Among other sites, the pilgrims visited the Basilica of the Annunciation in Nazareth, which is where Roman Catholics believe the angel Gabriel announced to the Virgin Mary that she would conceive and give birth to Jesus.
Cana is where Jesus turned water into wine during a wedding, and the pilgrims visited that city as well. The pilgrims’ visit to the Galilee region included a visit to Mount Tabor, which is where people believe the transfiguration of Jesus took place.
Bethlehem, of course, is the place where Jesus was born, and the pilgrims visited the Church of the Nativity located there.
The possible sites to visit in Jerusalem are too numerous to mention, but a few of the more famous include the Mount of Olives, King David’s Tomb and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. The Church of the Holy Sepulchre is located on the site where Jesus was crucified.
On the Mount of Olives, the pilgrims visited the Church of All Nations, which is where Jesus prayed before he was arrested and crucified.
The pilgrims also visited the Dead Sea, and in the area is Qumran, which includes the ruins of a Roman settlement and is the place where scrolls were hidden in jars and found in caves around the site. Scholars consider the scrolls an important contribution to Biblical research.
The pilgrims also visited the Jordan River, where John the Baptist baptized Jesus.
Every day, millions of pilgrims arrive in Israel to look for answers and help them understand their beliefs. Some find the journey a way to strengthen their faith. Despite different backgrounds and the deeply personal nature of the Holy Land experience, the pilgrimage is enlightening for all.
This report includes information from www.biblewalks.com.