Going on Faith

Spring 2017

The Magazine for faith-based travel planners.

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going on faith [ spring 2017 ] W hen Israel conquered the Promised Land, the tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh claimed the mountainous region of Samaria for themselves. After the kingdom divided upon the death of King Solomon, Samaria became part of the northern kingdom of Israel, and the Samarians believed that they, rather than population of the kingdom of Judah to the south, preserved the true practices of Judaism. Modern Samaritans, a minority culture that still lives in the central part of the West Bank, still hold this belief today. Groups can see how this culture lives on in the Jezreel Valley and at Mount Gerizim, and can learn about the Samaritan way of life at the Samaritan Museum. The West Bank was formerly an area many thought they'd never want to visit; in recent years, however, travel bans have been lifted and tourism in the region is picking up, but it has not reached the crowded levels of bigger tourism destinations like Jerusalem. The biblical All photos courtesy Israel Ministry of Tourism Groups visiting Samaria can experience the Bedouin lifestyle, a modern-day equivalent of how the patriarchs of the Bible lived. BY A S H L E Y R I C K S STAMPS P A S S P O R T I N T E R N A T I O N A L S P O T L I G H T SAMARIA ISRAEL country of Samaria, which hosts numerous sites con- nected to some of the most well-known biblical figures — Christ, Abraham, Jacob and Joshua — covers much of the West Bank. Historically, Samaria reached from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea and from the Jezreel Valley in the north to the Jerusalem Mountains in the south. The area features the mild Mediterranean climate that lends itself to agriculture and supports the region's many vineyards and orchards. This also means any time of year is pleasant for a visit. The largest city in the region today is Nablus, known in biblical times as Shechem. Groups will want to check out the bustling market at the city center and the soap factories that produce the region's popular olive oil and goat's milk soaps. Visitors can relax after a hard day of traveling at one of the two Ottoman hammams, or Turkish baths, where guests sit in a sauna, enjoy a mas- sage and listen to poetry and music. Both the city and the region of Samaria are mentioned in many places in the Bible under many names, but one of the best known is in John 4 when Jesus speaks with the Samaritan woman at the well. W H E R E I N T H E B I B L E ?

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