Understanding the context of early Christianity can lend our faith an added richness and depth.
Just as our own lives are shaped by the places we live, the sociocultural environment in which
we find ourselves, and the time into which we are born, so were the lives of early Christians,
At the Nazareth Project, one of our goals is to make Biblical history accessible to modern
people. We believe that by transforming the Israel of Jesus’s day from an abstraction into a
tangible reality, we can help people connect with the Bible, grow closer to God, and connect
more deeply with their religious heritage. Nazareth Village, which allows visitors to experience
life in first-century Nazareth, as it would have been during Jesus’s lifetime, is an excellent
opportunity to step into the world of the Bible.
Follow in Jesus’s Footsteps on the Jesus Trail Hikes
For people who would like to take that step and keep walking, the Nazareth Project offers the
Jesus Trail Hikes. These five-day, 40-mile guided excursions through northern Israel offer
participants a once-in-a-lifetime chance to literally walk in Jesus’s footsteps while benefitting the mission of Nazareth Hospital, Nazareth Academic School of Nursing, and the Nazareth Trust.
The Jesus Trail hike is a guided trek that begins in Nazareth and finishes at Capernaum. Both
locations are Biblically significant. Nazareth was Jesus’s childhood home, and some believe that
it was in the synagogue at Nazareth that Jesus began preaching to others. (And he came to
Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue
on the sabbath day, and stood up to read. – Luke 4:16) Later, when Jesus left Nazareth after
being rejected for his message, he settled in Capernaum. (Leaving Nazareth, he went and lived
in Capernaum, which was by the lake in the area of Zebulun and Naphtali… – Matthew 4:13).
Along the way, hikers will enjoy a variety of historical and natural landmarks, including the
Byzantine mosaics and Crusader fortress at Cana, Zippori National Park, the ruins along the
ancient Roman Via Maris, the volcanic Horns of Hattin, and more. The route is breathtaking in
its natural beauty, and those on the trail can expect to traverse rolling hills, meadows studded
with flowers, olive groves, and rugged rock formations. It is truly a pilgrimage that transforms!
Logistics of the Jesus Trail Hike
This coming year, the Nazareth Trust – Nazareth Project’s partner in Nazareth — will be hosting
two Jesus Trail Hikes over the following dates:
● March 17-23, 2024
● November 3-9, 2024
Lodging and meals will be provided in Nazareth prior to departure as well as at each overnight
stop, and participants’ luggage will be shuttled in between waypoints. Daily mileage will vary depending on the terrain and other factors, but hikers can expect to cover anywhere from 8-13 miles each day.
For an additional cost, participants who wish to spend more time enjoying Israel have the option
of extending their stay at the Nazareth Trust accommodation before and/or after the hike.
Testimonials From the Jesus Trail
The Trail Hike offers something for everyone, whether you’re looking for a wonderful short term missions opportunity, companionship, the chance to spend time in nature, an opportunity to deepen your faith and connect with the Holy Land, or just some time for quiet reflection. Former participants outline their experiences below:
“There were a number of memorable events along the Jesus Trail sponsored walk which I hiked
together with the 24 participants from abroad and local staff and volunteers as part of the
Nazareth Challenge this year! These include: the abundance and colorful array of flowers in the
fields and lush green vegetation along the way; the good fun and fellowship enjoyed with
various of the participants as we journeyed together; the great food provided by various
departments of the Nazareth Hospital for lunch each day; and, of course, the silent and spoken
reflections on the life and teaching of Jesus of Nazareth in whose footsteps we were walking as
he journeyed from Nazareth to Capernaum two millennia ago!” – Frank Kantor
“My sister and I had looked forward to this trip for a couple years. And now it had become
reality! We walked along dusty roads, rocky paths, village streets, muddy fields, crossed
streams, ascended and descended Horns of Hattin and Mount Arbel, and hiked along the Sea
of Galilee. I tried to imagine what it must have been like when Jesus walked here with his
disciples, and, as I reflected, I realized that, in a sense, Jesus was walking with us, too. Jesus
was with us as we hopped from rock to rock across streams, encouraged each other on hilly
climbs and rocky descents, and formed new friendships” – Josie Swartzentruber
“What an awesome sight as I stood on top of Mt Arbel and gazed out over the valley and the
Sea of Galilee, taking in the view of the area Jesus lived, walked and where most of His ministry
took place. It was a rich experience and a super fun way in which to perceive the different
religious, cultural and spiritual aspects of the people and the country of Israel. The Gospels
come to life in a whole new way as I read them now.” – Jackie Sands
The Nazareth Project is the primary US partner of the Nazareth Trust, an organization dedicated
to serving the population of the Middle East and the wider world through healthcare, education,
proclamation, and service. Our work and mission are rooted in the teachings of Jesus of
Nazareth, though we are committed to serving all peoples, regardless of faith, political affiliation,
or tradition. The offerings of the Trust include the Nazareth Hospital and the Nazareth Academic
School of Nursing, as well as Nazareth Village and the SERVE Nazareth program, both of which
allow patients, students, volunteers, pilgrims, and tourists to deepen their relationship with God
and one another. Contact us today for more information on our programs, or consider donating
to support our work!