Today was the final leg of the Jesus Trail for our group. We began later than usual after rising at around 7:30 am for breakfast and were on the road by 8:30; this seems early, but we had been rising earlier than that during this trek to try and cover as much ground as we could under the Israeli sun.
As we left Arbel, we started onward up to the crest of the cliff slowly with what seemed like what had become a march, a steady physical test for many of those who had been battling the sore legs and blisters from the day before. The group reached the top of Mt. Arbel and we witnessed a spectacular view of the Galilean landscape below us as we looked off of the top of this massive cliff face to see the beauty of the land below (from this site we could see the cities of Tiberias, to Capernaum, with the Golan Heights breaking through the mist on the eastern shore of the sea of Galilee). After stopping for a quick water break, and taking some scenic pictures from to lookout area, we started down a trail that leads onward down the side of this massive mountain. The pace slowed as we made our way down the edge of this incredibly steep rock face in single file, (definitely not for the faint-hearted). I being one that is not good with heights to begin with, had a hard time on the edge of the mountain and found myself freezing up very early on while others passed me by. Thankfully I had some faith partners that were willing to pray with me and guide me down the edge of this steep mountain which is far higher and more steep than anything I have ever attempted to climb in my life. The shear exhaustion of my personal fear of heights was overcome as we made our way step-by-step down this rocky trail.
Many caves were carved into the sides of these cliffs and that is where the group stopped for our second rest on our way down the mountain where we learned some of their historical significance (which seems to be a part of everywhere we go on this journey). We continued on and made it to the bottom of the cliff to a spring of water, and a time to rest our feet on solid ground as we gazed up at the massive cliff; some of us wondering how we made it down safely.
We pressed on another to our lunch area, stopped for a break, and then pressed on to the shore of the sea of Galilee to a site that we had visited a few days earlier. Here, on the shores of the sea of Galilee, the group had the privilege of witnessing the baptism of one of our own; Emily Enns. This made the journey so worthwhile for us just to be a part of such a special occasion.
After all this, we continued on to Capernaum where we met our bus back to Nazareth where we will be staying the night back at the Fauzi Azar before continuing on. So far this trip has been so rich in every experience, and we are learning so very much. Truly this day will be one that we all will remember for many years to come, a simple letter cannot contain all that we have experienced.