« הקודםהמשך »
what less extensive than that from Tabor, is even more beautiful. The hours of a Sabbath afternoon and evening spent in meditation and prayer on the thymy turf of this glorious upland have left behind them memories which no lapse of time can efface or weaken.
The numerous flocks of sheep and goats which were being led in to be folded for the night formed a striking object in the landscape, and recalled to mind a question which has perplexed many eastern travellers. Our Lord,
speaking of His coming to judgment, says, “And before Him shall be I gathered all nations: and He shall separate them one from another, as a
shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats.". But the sheep and the goats
are invariably brought in together. I had failed to find any instance in which ! they were divided. This, of all others, was the place to seek an explana
tion. It was given me by a shepherd who was leading his flock past the spot where I stood. The division is made not in the evening when the flocks are folded, but in the morning as they are taken out to pasture. travelling much more quickly than the sheep and thriving upon a much scantier vegetation, are driven up to the mountain tops, where they pick their food from amongst the rocks and stones. The sheep are kept upon the lower slopes, where the grass is more abundant and the pasturage richer. It is thus, not to the night of death when “like sheep they are laid in the grave, "2 but the resurrection morning to which the illustration points and when the final separation shall be made. In this case, as in so many others, the seeming discrepancy arises from our imperfect acquaintance with the facts. A more complete knowledge not only removes the apparent difficulty, but brings out a deeper meaning in the sayings of Him whose "words are spirit and are life.”
We cannot leave Nazareth without reflecting on the silence of Scripture respecting our Lord's residence here. Of the thirty-three years of His earthly life, twenty-eight were spent in this secluded valley; yet the history of those years is an almost total blank. A journey to Jerusalem is the only incident recorded. “The child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom : and the grace of God was upon Him . . . He was subject unto His parents.
. He increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.”3 This is all we know-no more. Imagination, working upon apochryphal
legends and obscure hints, has endeavoured to fill in the vague outline with | biographical details. But the attempt is unwarranted, even if it be not
irreverent. It is impossible for us to list the veil which hides these years of mysterious growth and silent preparation. When “the day of His showing unto Israel” had come, He emerged from His obscurity; and we shall trace His footsteps on the shores of the neighbouring lake, the world's great Teacher, revealing God to man, and man to himself. It was at CANA OF GALILEE, the home of Nathanael,* that our Lord
* John xxi. 2.
1 Matt. xxv. 32.
? Ps. xlix. 14.
3 Luke ii. 40, 52.
worked His first miracle, "and manifested forth His glory." There are two villages near Nazareth, still bearing a similar name, each of which has been regarded as the scene of the manifestation. Kefr Kenna, a small village about an hour and a half to the north-west, and Kana-el-Jelil at double the distance. The former is the traditional site. The claims of the latter are supported by the deservedly high authority of Robinson, and its name is absolutely identical with that of the Biblical narrative. It is perhaps impossible to decide in which of the two it was that
“ The modest water, awed by power divine,
Confessed the God, and blushed itself to wine."
With the exception of a fountain, apparently of the Roman period, said to have been the place from which the water was drawn, there is nothing in either of them to connect itself with the miracle. In the wedding festivities at Nazareth, of which I have already spoken, the bride was brought from near Kefr Kenna. The innumerable guests who thronged the house for a week, served to illustrate and to account for the inadequacy of the supplies provided for a similar festivity in the time of our Lord.
John ii. 1-11. See also John iv. 46-54 for an account of a second miracle wrought here.
writings of Josephus is that in which he
sareth ; its nature is wonderful as well TOWN AND LAKE OF TIBERIAS.
as its beauty ; its soil is so fruitful that
all sorts of trees can grow upon it, and the inhabitants accordingly plant all sorts of trees there; for the temper of the air is so well mixed, that it agrees very well with those several sorts, particularly walnuts, which require the coldest air, flourish there in vast plenty; there are palm trees also, which grow best in hot air ; fig trees also and olives grow near them, which yet require an air that is more temperate. One may call this place the ambition of nature where it forces those plants that are naturally enemies to one another to agree together; it is a happy contention of the seasons, as if every one of them laid claim to this country; for it not only nourishes different sorts of autumnal fruit beyond men's expectation, but preserves them a great while ; it supplies men with the principal fruits, with grapes and figs continually during ten months of the year, and the rest of the fruits
as they become ripe together, through the whole year; for besides the good temperature of the air, it is also watered from a most fertile fountain. The people of the country call it Capharnaum.
The traveller who visits the Lake with this passage in his mind, and expects to find its descriptions realised is doomed to disappointment. The population has disappeared. To the stir of busy life a mournful silence has succeeded. A single filthy ruinous town—Tiberias-half-a-dozen wretched villages, and the black tents of the Bedouins, are the only human habitations on the banks. Where Herod, Josephus, and Titus could, without difficulty,
collect fleets of from three hundred to five hundred vessels, I only found three small fishing-boats, and these so dilapidated that their owners dared not launch them except in a perfect calm. The soil is fertile and productive as ever, but labour is wanting to break up the fallow ground, to cast in the seed, or to reap the harvest.
But there is a sense in which this mournful silence and solitude are not inappropriate. There is nothing to distract our thoughts from that Divine Presence which here abode in human form. One great memory lingers undisturbed amongst these hills and valleys. The bustle of modern life and the squalid misery and degradation of the eastern peasantry would
| Bell. Jud. x. $ 8.