Thursday, July 27, 2017

Some Must See Sights For Christians Taking Their First Holy Land Vacations

By Gary Edwards

For many Christians the opportunity to spend time visiting the land where Jesus lived, taught, and died is a once in a lifetime experience. Most want to see as much of this countryside as possible and visit the places where He is thought to have been. It may be impossible to see everything in one visit, but there are some places that should be on the short list for Holy Land vacations.

One of the first things most Christians want to do when they come to Israel is to walk the Via Dolorosa. It extends from the Lions' Gate located at the Muslim Quarter to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre at the Christian Quarter. This is the path many believe Jesus took on the way to Calvary on His last day. The route incorporates the fourteen stations of the cross. Finding the plaque indicating a station can be difficult. Tourists are encouraged to take advantage of guided tours.

In Jerusalem's Old City, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre is located on the spot known as Golgotha or Calvary, where Jesus was crucified. Pilgrims since the fourth century have made their way here. Many theorize that Christ's tomb is located below the church.

One alternative burial site is the Garden Tomb. This shrine has become an increasingly popular spot for Protestants to come and spend time in contemplation and prayer. The tomb was only discovered in 1867 and now welcomes visitors to explore its double chamber.

The Sea of Galilee is where Jesus performed a number of miracles and gathered local fishermen to become His disciples. The Sea of Galilee is not actually a sea at all. It is the largest freshwater lake in Israel. For those interested, there are boat rides available that take guests on tours in vessels similar to the ones used in the time of Jesus.

Bethlehem is in disputed territory, so visitors have to take that into consideration when deciding whether or not to include it in their vacation planning. Most take the risk to see the place where Jesus is believed to have been born. Visitors to Bethlehem can stand in Shepherd's Field where the angels announced the birth of Christ.

Nazareth, which is located near Mount Tabor, and the town where Jesus grew up, should also be on the list of places to see while in Israel. Tourists can visit Mary's Well where the angel Gabriel appeared to Mary and informed her she would give birth to the Christ child. The original Church of the Annunciation, which was built to mark the significance of this event, was destroyed, but a new one was built in the late 1950s.

The Holy Land is a special place for Christians. Traveling in the area is more like a pilgrimage than a vacation. Those lucky enough to see the places Jesus may have inhabited, never forget the experience. Many find a renewed sense of commitment and dedication to His teachings that last a lifetime.

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