Return to Nazareth
|19But when Herod was dead, behold, an angel of the Lord appeareth in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, 20Saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and go into the land of Israel: for they are dead which sought the young child’s life. 21And he arose, and took the young child and his mother, and came into the land of Israel. 22But when he heard that Archelaus did reign in Judaea in the room of his father Herod, he was afraid to go thither: notwithstanding, being warned of God in a dream, he turned aside into the parts of Galilee:
|23And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, He shall be called a Nazarene.
|39And when they had performed all things according to the law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own city Nazareth.
The bustling city which seems to swarm like a beehive of activity around the Basilica of the Annunciation does not seem to fit our mental image of the insignificant village in which Jesus grew up.
One look from those hillsides of the Nazareth Ridge will erase a lifetime’s worth of impressions from sermons about the isolation of Nazareth. Here you have a panoramic view of the northeastern part of the Jezreel Valley. These hillsides witnessed the battles of Deborah and Barak against Sisera and the Canaanites from Hazor (Judges 4 5), Elijah’s raising of the widow’s son from the dead at Shunem (2 Kings 4:32-35), and Jesus’ similar raising of the widow’s son at Nain (Luke 7:11-15).
Nazareth is next to, but not directly on, the most important road through Israel. This is hardly the “out of the way” place that many people expect to see. In Jesus’ day, Nazareth was a village nestled in the “bowl” created by the higher hills surrounding it. The village could never sustain a large population, as it had only one good spring and the soil was not very fertile. The spring trickles from a limestone crypt; it would have been here that Mary drew water for her family.