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Holy Land Pilgrimage

Hiking in the Land of Jesus

January 21, 2019

Visiting the holy sites here in Bethlehem has been an exciting experience!  But the city at times can be extremely busy and crowded. And for one who aspires to delve into the authentic culture of the people and away from the bustling city, a hike out of the city and into the country was in order.  A few of us decided to walk to the Wadi Makhrour Valley towards Battir, about a 50 minute walk to the northwest of Bethlehem.

The valley, due to its ancient terraced water system and 2000-year-old Roman irrigation system in the city of Battir, still used by the local farmers, has been granted UNESCO world heritage status. Olive groves and vineyards wind their way through the immense valley landscape providing stunning views of unchanged terraced farming methods thousands of years old.  We saw many stone structures called “Qusur” built of neatly placed rocks that used to serve as storage rooms for various crops planted in the Wadi.

At times during our hike I wondered, since this landscape hasn’t changed much since the time of Christ, if Jesus and his disciples had ever passed through this valley on the way to Jerusalem.  If so it was an amazing feeling to imagine myself walking with them through this beautiful valley!

Dominic Couturier

Diocese of Grand Rapids

 

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