It was longer for me since I got up at 5 to spend some time at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher by myself before the tourists arrived. It was great walking through the narrow streets as people were just beginning the day, you could even hear the cock crowing. It was also wonderful to be in the church at that hour, apart from some monks chanting, there were only about 10 people in that whole massive building. It was a meditative way to begin the day.
At 8 we were off to Samaria on the bus. We had a long visit with the high priest of the small remaining Samaritan community on top of Mt Gerizim. THey are one of the oldest communities in the world and have the worlds oldest language and book they claim dates back to 3000 BC, but is more likely about 1000bc.
Then down off the mountain and to Sichar and the well where Jesus met the Samaritan woman. The well is in a beautiful new Greek Orthodox Church presided over by Fr. Justin who designed the church and filled it with many of his own fabulous icons. Laura was in heaven (picture of the day).
The final stop was to visit a Christian community in the town of Zagbedah-St Matthews Anglican church. In spite of the different culture, parish life was much like ours, guided by an energetic young rector. The women of the church served us a traditional regional dish, chicken on top of a round pita bread topped with butter, onions, and sumac. That fortified us for a long tedious ride back to Jerusalem.
After dinner we had an excellent lecture about Islam by a young Palestinian Christian priest who is doing his doctorate at Cambridge.
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