Sunrise over Bethlehem, birthplace of Jesus, on Orthodox Christmas Eve, Jan. 6, 2015. Photo by Katie Montgomery Mears.
Members of the Perkins School of Theology-SMU Palestine-Israel immersion group traveled to significant sites in the world of Jesus on day four of the Jan. 3-14, 2015 trip. Students, alums, and friends experienced the Judean Wilderness and Dead Sea, Masada, Qumran, the River Jordan, and Jericho during the full day led by Dr. Jaime Clark-Soles.
On Jan. 7, the group will travel to the Coastal Plains and Nazareth. Caesarea Maratima, Megiddo, Mt. Tabor, and the Church of the Annunciation in the old city of Nazareth are included on the day’s itinerary.
The Palestine-Israel immersion trip is sponsored by the Global Theological Education Program of Perkins School of Theology-SMU.
En route to Masada via the Dead Sea – the lowest point on earth (below sea level). Photo by Bill Ball
Members of the Perkins Palestine-Israel immersion group explore the large bathhouse, part of the vast Masada compound. Photo by Connie Nelson
View from the Masada plateau. Photo by Connie Nelson
The plateau of Masada, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, upon which King Herod built a palatial fortress. Photo by Connie Nelson
Masada is known as the site of the last bastion of Jewish opposition to the Romans. Photo by Connie Nelson
Cave #4 at Qumran, site of the discovery of the Dead Sea scrolls. Photo by Jaime Clark-Soles
The group went to an area of the River Jordan only opened two years ago, and thought to be the most likely location of John the Baptist’s ministry. Land mines line the road to the river site on both sides, with soldiers guarding the Israeli border on the west and the Jordan border across the river on the east. Photo by Connie Nelson
The Rev. Lorraine Brown reads the biblical account of the baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist. Photo by Connie Nelson
Katie Mears renews her baptismal vows, marked with the sign of the cross by Rev. Beth Pratt Tatum. Photo by Connie Nelson
Manger Square in Bethlehem, located in the West Bank. Photo by Connie Nelson
Orthodox Ethiopian Christians, pilgrims to Bethlehem on Orthodox Christmas Eve, filled Manger Square with drums, music, song, and dance. Photo by Sungmoon Lee
The giant Christmas tree in Manger Square. Photo by Jaime Clark-Soles