Sing: And Are We Yet Alive, UMH 553
We entered the Nazareth area from the Netufa Valley on the northeast, driving through Cana and along a ridge above Nazareth to our first stop of the day. It has started to get light now and we can see down into the valley below. Directly south of central Nazareth and at the high point of the ridge that we have been riding along we stopped in a deserted parking lot. The curbs, pavement, and sidewalks look to be just a few years old and there is plenty of parking space but absolutely no one else in sight. There are no businesses or buildings visible – why are we stopping here?
Nader, our guide, lead us along one of the sidewalks, through a nice stand of stunted and wind-swept trees, to a dramatic view. The ridge ends here! As we stare out into the void, storm clouds are moving over us and below us. We are at the pinnacle of Mount Precipice, the place where the people of Nazareth tried to stone Jesus to death (in stoning you can throw rocks at the person or the person at the rocks). This cliff would have definitely done the job.
This vantage point gives us dramatic views both of Nazareth and the areas to the east, south, and west of Nazareth. The weather this morning was overcast, cold, rainy, and windy. To the east we could just make out Mount Tabor, round-topped and standing by itself far to our left. Spread out in front of us are the fields of the Jezreel Valley, wonderfully wet and beautifully green. To our right (west) is another site we will be visiting later today; Megiddo, which sits at the tail end of a line of hills collectively known as Mount Carmel.
Far around to our right the Basilica of the Annunciation (our next stop) was visible and appears to be about a mile and a half away as the crow flies and at least a two hundred feet below us. The beacon light at the top of the Basilica’s dome marks the spot of the old village and seems to be a bit too far away for the people of Nazareth to have brought Jesus to throw him from this precipice. Perhaps that is why Jesus was able to simply walk away.
Think of all the options Jesus had in that moment: fire from heaven; armies of angels?
He chose to just walk away.
Sometimes that is the most appropriate thing we can do.