Holy Land Pilgrimage with Gila

 

HOME
BIBLE REFERENCES
BOOK GILA
GILA’S GIFT SHOP
HOLY LAND HEROINES
HOLY SITES:
GILA’S HIGHLIGHTS
HOLY LAND HEROINES
SONGS & PRAISE
TIPS FOR TOURS
ABOUT GILA
CONTACT
 
 
 


“MARY SET OUT AT THAT TIME AND WENT AS QUICKLY AS
SHE COULD TO A TOWN IN THE HILL COUNTRY OF JUDEA"
LUKE 1:39
                                                                           

Holy Sites -- Gila's Highlights


Let's meet where Mary met Elizabeth

 
In the days that Herod was king over Judea, an elderly childless priest named Zachariah won the lottery with the right to offer incense in the Lord’s Temple in Jerusalem. (Luke 1: 9)  Just as Zachariah was standing by the great altar holding a cup full of burning coals and incense, the angel Gabriel suddenly appeared incognito to the right side of the altar.  Zachariah was startled and frightened.

The angel patted his shoulder, reassured him and pronounced the amazing news to Zachariah that his wife Elizabeth, who was “well along in years,” was to give birth to a son.  Zechariahs’ first reaction was disbelief and a demand for proof.  Gabriel formally introduced himself and left Zechariahs mute, having to tell worshippers in the Temple courtyard by sign language that he had seen a vision.

Six months later, Gabriel visited the Galilean village of Nazareth, this time appearing to a young virgin named Mary.  She, also, was initially alarmed by the sudden presence of a stranger.  But he reassured her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God.”

A few days later, or perhaps a few hours later, a pregnant Mary began the long arduous journey (90 miles as the crow flies) from Nazareth to visit her cousin Elizabeth in the hill country of Judea.  Would she have walked, or would she have ridden a donkey?  We can’t know.

But what we do know is that she would have traveled along a land of hills and valleys studded with many, many rocks.  The most she could have traversed in one day is 9 to 10 miles, so we are talking about a ten-day journey at the very least, and, in a state of pregnancy.
 

A mosque stands over Mary's spring in Ein Karem

Photo:  Gila Yudkin

Tradition has it that Mary drank from a spring under this mosque in Ein Karem

 
Mary’s destination, Elizabeth’s home village in the “hill country of Judea,” is traditionally identified as Ein Karem, on the western outskirts of Jerusalem.  Ein Karem means “spring of the vineyards,” alluding to the many terraces, still evident, which were filled with grape vines and olive trees in ancient days.
 
Imagine how surprised Elizabeth would have been to see Mary.  After all, Mary didn't have a smart phone to alert her.  But she may have been carrying a smart-looking holy land pouch!  If you would like to carry one on your next journey, check out Gila's Gift Shop!

Holy Land Pouches

Eye-catching Holy Land Pouches

 
Mary’s visit with her pregnant cousin Elizabeth is commemorated by a lovely church called “The Visitation Church.”  To reach the church we pass a spring where Mary is reputed to have quenched her thirst, before she climbed up the hill to Elizabeth’s summer home.  It’s a 7 to 10 minute walk up the hill with 89 steps to the entrance of the church.
 

Mary meeting Elizabeth at the entrance to the Visitation Church in Ein Karem

Photo:  Gila Yudkin

Statue of Mary greeting Elizabeth at the entrance to the Visitation Church

 
The Church of the Visitation is an ideal place for reflection on the promise of motherhood and the intervention of the Holy Spirit.  Another possibility is comparing the birth narratives and ministries of cousins John and Jesus.

Although the church is visited by many groups, most don’t linger. Members of your group can disperse facing the rustic views of the terraced countryside, or find solitude in the upstairs chapel or the downstairs grotto.  You can read the Magnificat (Luke 1:46-55) set in ceramic tiles in 57 languages, from Scottish to Swahili and Portuguese to Vietnamese.
 

Magnificat from Luke 1 is set in 57 languages

Photo:  Gila Yudkin

Magnificat set in ceramic in 57 languages

 
If our group is filled with boundless energy, we’ll wander a bit through the narrow village alleyways and admire some of Jerusalem’s finest landscaped country homes.

 

If you’d like to meet where Mary met Elizabeth, contact me while you are in the stages of planning your next trip to Jerusalem.  We’ll include a visit to rustic Ein Karem on your next pilgrimage.
 

Mary meeting Elizabeth in the courtyard of the Visitation Church in Ein Karem

Photo:  Gila Yudkin

Mary meeting Elizabeth commemorated at the Visitation Church in Ein Karem

 

Want to know more about women at the time of the Bible?
 

Women at the time of the Bible


Read and learn about these intriguing biblical topics:

  • Matchmakers, brides, wives, maidens & harlots

  • Childbirth & motherhood in biblical days

  • Dress, hairstyles, makeup & perfume

  • Female singers, dancers, musicians & entertainers

  • Mediums, magicians, sorceresses & seductresses

  • Women at worship

  • Shepherdesses, spinsters & traders

  • Romance and love

  • Mothers and sons

For more information on Women at the time of the Bible, see Gila's Gift Shop
 
Gila Yudkin, a Connecticut Yankee guiding in King David’s court, has been sharing biblical insights on site in the Holy Land for over 30 years.  She loves showing off Ein Karem to pilgrims -- and to her family and friends.  Be sure to contact her in the beginning stages of planning your tour to check her availability.  

If you are contemplating leading a tour to the Holy Land or know someone who is, don’t miss Gila’s tips about do's and don'ts guaranteed to make your Holy Land pilgrimage a rave success.  Read Tips from A to Z for Holy Land Tour Leaders.
 

Copyright 2008, 2015 Gila Yudkin.  Permission needed for any reuse.

 

SIGN UP for the FREE bimonthly e-letter:
"Holy Sites: Gila's Highlights"

 

Coming to Jerusalem soon?  Would you like to find the venues where you can quietly be transported back in your imagination to the time of Mary and Elizabeth? 

Make every minute matter while you "Explore Jerusalem's Soul" with Gila's unorthodox guide.  This up-to-date PDF (Adobe Acrobat) 46-page guide gives you the Top Ten places to meditate on the Bible, the Top Ten lesser-known churches worth visiting, the Top Ten most rewarding roof-top views and the Top Ten places for sampling Middle Eastern soul food. 

Pick and choose among 40 sites according to your temperament, time frame, impulse and imagination.   Some are in Ein Karem, right near the Visitation Church!  More on Gila's Guide...

12 MOST POPULAR ARTICLES this month


GILA YUDKIN TCHERNIKOVSKI 64A JERUSALEM ISRAEL
gila@itsgila.com

HOME GILA'S GIFT SHOP   TIPS FOR TOURS  ABOUT GILA


 

Copyright © 2005-2017 Gila Yudkin. All rights reserved.
Holy Land Photography by Gila Yudkin