|First view of trash-filled empty lot|
|View from top of the hill looking down at empty lot used for parking and trash|
Nazareth in the first century CE had maybe 120-150 inhabitants, mostly all from the same clan. That's why the statement in Luke, chapter 1, that Joseph was from the house of David also implies that Mary was of the same lineage.
On the third day of my visit, I walked from my hostel, close to the ancient ruins, up to the top of the mountain. The cobbled streets near the bottom of the hill were too narrow for cars, but later I came to wider streets and a few hillsides covered with plastic bottles, broken household items, and other trash. Except for this open space, houses and apartment buildings were densely packed.
The Nabi Sa'in Ridge is composed of chalky limestone, like nearly all the bedrock of Israel. Millions of years of ancient seas deposited calcium from the shells of clams, oysters, corals, etc. I picked up some small rocks to take home, thinking "These are the kinds of rocks Jesus grew up with."
The littered, unsightly open spaces bothered me. I wanted to pick up all the trash and then plant flower gardens with benches for rest and reflection. After all, this is where Jesus retreated after a day's work.
At the end of one road there was a flat paved area for parking and turning around, surrounded by apartment buildings. A rooster and several hens were scratching in the fresh green grass sprouting next to heaps of garbage.
Suddenly a huge white Chevrolet Silverado drove up, made a u-turn, and backed toward the edge of the cliff. A man hopped out, let down the tailgate, and started throwing boards, chunks of cement, and other construction waste down the hillside. I stood there amazed and took a few photos.
I continued my hike to the top of the mountain, where there is a Salesian Church, convent, and school run by the Salesian Sisters of Don Bosco. Next to this property sits a large mosque.
Both look out over the wide Jezreel Valley and a number of cities therein, including the ancient Tel Megiddo, where Armageddon is supposed to begin.
Jesus climbed this mountain, looked out over this view, and formed his perspective on life.
What did Jesus think about as he looked over the valley toward Tel Megiddo?
And what would he think to see Nazareth today with 80,000 people, apartments, cars, and trash?