Israel is one of the only countries to which I have traveled where I actually resemble the local ethnicity–which can be a bit challenging. Everyone assumes I speak Hebrew and Aramaic. I say the only word I know, “shalom,” smile and keep on walking.

Yesterday we visited the Church of the Annunciation. It is the traditional site of Gabriel’s announcement to Mary that she would be the mother of the Messiah. One of the really cool aspects of the church was the 50+ mosaics around the walls depicting Mary and the baby Jesus in the ethnicity 50+ different countries. Japan, Thailand, Guatemala, India, etc. The depiction of Mary from the USA was inside the church. It was nothing short of imposing. Unfortunately, USA Mary looked angry and aggressive in all of her glory. AND, no Jesus in the picture. Hmmm.

Today, on our free day, three of us rented a car and drove up Mount Tabor (the traditional site of the transfiguration when Moses and Elijah appeared with Jesus). I have always wondered if the other disciples were jealous of Peter, James and John when they got to go up the Mount with Jesus. Now I’m not so sure. The climb was a seriously long one up the side of a small mountain. Now I wonder if the other disciples were relieved that they didn’t have to make the arduous journey.

Tomorrow we leave Galilee and head to Jerusalem . . .