Palestine-Israel Immersion Trip 2015, Perkins School of Theology

The January 3-14, 2015, Palestine-Israel Immersion Trip for alumni/ae and students of Perkins School of Theology-SMU — sponsored by the school’s Global Theological Education Program — includes 17 participants. The first-ever Perkins immersion experience for alums will be led by Dr. Jaime Clark-Soles, associate professor of New Testament at Perkins School of Theology. Each day, participants will experience Palestine and Israel through a different theme, including:

– The World of Jesus
– The Birth of Jesus
– Orthodox Christmas
– Jesus in Galilee, Jesus in Judea
– Contemporary Palestine
– Contemporary Israel

The itinerary includes Qumran, Masada, Bethlehem, the Church of the Nativity, Megiddo, Capernaum, Nazareth, Jerusalem, and other locations. In addition to Dr. Clark-Soles, leadership will include Dr. Robert Hunt, director of the Global Theological Education Program, and the Rev. Connie Nelson, director of Public Affairs and Alumni/ae Relations.

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‘The Ornament of Galilee’

Our day began with a visit to Sepphoris, which Josephus called “the ornament of Galilee.” This extensive archeological site is located in the central Galilee region of Israel, northwest of Nazareth, overlooking the Beit Netofa Valley. Sepphoris holds a rich and diverse historical and architectural legacy that includes Hellenistic, Jewish, Roman, Byzantine, Islamic, Crusader, Arabic and Ottoman influences. In late Christian tradition it was believed to be the birthplace of Mary, mother of Jesus, and the village where Saints Anna and Joachim are often said to have resided.

Following lunch in Nablus, we traveled to the eastern outskirts of the city to Jacob’s Well. A Greek Orthodox Church is built around the well, which is the site of the encounter between Jesus and the Samaritan woman (John 4). The church was built through the work of Father Justinos, who also painted the icons throughout the site. Our group had the opportunity to meet the priest and gather with him at the well, located in the crypt of the church.

As we have done with each biblical site, a scripture was read and a reflection presented by students and alums.

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The group gathers around Jacob’s Well to listen to the story of Jesus and the Samaritan woman.

The group gathers around Jacob’s Well to listen to the story of Jesus and the Samaritan woman.

Carrie DeLeon, Perkins alum, pours a cup of water into the 100-foot-deep Jacob’s well.

Carrie DeLeon, Perkins alum, pours a cup of water into the 100-foot-deep Jacob’s well.

Father Justinos, the Greek Orthodox priest responsible for the building of the church sheltering Jacob’s Well.

Father Justinos, the Greek Orthodox priest responsible for the building of the church sheltering Jacob’s Well.

The icon, painted by Father Justinos, which tells the story of Jesus’ encounter with the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s Well.

The icon, painted by Father Justinos, which tells the story of Jesus’ encounter with the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s Well.

Perkins students and alums in Sepphoris with Dr. Barbara Rossing (second from right), professor of New Testament at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago and author of a required reading in one of Dr. Clark-Soles’ classes (which these students/alums had read). From left, Mireya Martinez, Jen Logsdon-Kellogg, Beth Pratt Tatum, and Nancy Shilling.

Perkins students and alums in Sepphoris with Dr. Barbara Rossing (second from right), professor of New Testament at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago and author of a required reading in one of Dr. Clark-Soles’ classes (which these students/alums had read). From left, Mireya Martinez, Jen Logsdon-Kellogg, Beth Pratt Tatum, and Nancy Shilling.

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