From Mary Malhotra
We left Jerusalem in silence and in the dark at 5:45AM this morning, and traveled to Wadi Qelt. The Wadi Qelt is a valley, originating in Jerusalem leading into the Jordan Rover which then flows into the Dead Sea during rains. Arriving just as dawn was breaking, we read Psalm 23 and walked in silent reflection meditating on the wilderness we might experience in our own lives and perhaps the wilderness of those whom we love.As the sun came up over the hills, and night gave way to day, the light reflected off the hills filling the otherwise barren landscape with the most beautiful colors. Young bedouin children eagerly waited for us to proudly sell their home made goods. We celebrated Eucharist in the desert valley and were joined by the bravest of the Bedouin children to share the peace. We traveled onto Jericho, the oldest known city in the world where we met wonderful local people happy to make fresh pomegranate juice for us or explain how their beautiful glassware is crafted. We shared coffee with the vendors, chatting about the wonders of this part of the world. From there we traveled to Nazareth, that small town where Nathaniel asked Philip, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” And Philip responded, “Come and see” (John 1: 46-47. It is in this little town that numbered perhaps no more than 50 households that the angel came to Mary and the world was changed. As we travel the foot steps of Jesus during this pilgrimage, we are changed by every place we stop, not only by seeing where Jesus was born, ministered, was crucified, and rose from the dead, but also by where he ate, slept, and the air he breathed. Two thousand years later, as we walk the same path, we are changed forever.