According come the gospels, Jesus regularly took the road to Jerusalem for the annual feasts. The main feasts to be Passover (in beforehand spring), Pentecost (in so late spring), and Tabernacles (in early fall). However we know Jesus likewise spent at least one Hanukkah (early winter) in Jerusalem.  

For many of his life, Jesus resided in Nazareth, a town in Galilee around 60 miles north of Jerusalem. And for the last couple of years, he made his headquarters in Capernaum, one more 20 mile or so east of Nazareth. Today, you deserve to drive from Jerusalem come Galilee in much less than two hours. 

But Jesus no drive, the walked. Which means this wasn’t a two-hour pilgrimage for him, it to be a to walk of number of days.

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Jesus had two main routes he might take to gain to Jerusalem. Us don’t recognize what civilization called these paths in the first century, therefore we’ll make up reasonable names:

The Samaritan RoadThe Jordan Way

These were very different routes, each v pluses and also minuses.

Walking the Samaritan Road

Coming indigenous Nazareth come Jerusalem, the much shorter route was absolutely the Samaritan Road, i beg your pardon ran an ext or much less straight south. As the raven flies, the street is 64 miles, however it had to be at the very least 70 mile by road.

A usual traveler can walk 15 to 20 miles in a day, which way that you could walk indigenous Nazareth to Jerusalem in around 4 days. If you set a very aggressive pace, you might be able to make that in 3 days. If you to be really taking it easy, you can do that in 5.

Most that the Samaritan Road goes with the hill country of Samaria and also Judea at altitudes increase to about 2000 feet. In a hot country like Israel, that would mean slightly cooler temperatures. 

But that would additionally mean going through Samaria, i beg your pardon was foe territory. We recognize that periodically the Samaritans harassed Jews comes to the feasts. Periodically they eliminated people.

That’s one reason plenty of travelers decided a various route.

Walking the Jordan Way

Many travelers native Galilee did an finish run on Samaria. They’d reduced southeast indigenous Galilee till they reached the Jordan River. Climate they’d take the roadway straight south along the river until they reached Jericho. Finally, lock turned west and hiked up right into the Judean hill country to Jerusalem.

From Nazareth to Jerusalem by the Jordan method was more than likely 85 to 90 miles. So a reasonable time come walk that distance would certainly be 5 days. Again, girlfriend could set an aggressive pace, and also you might make that in only 4 days. Or taking things slower than normal, you could take 6 days. 

So the Jordan Way took about a day much longer than the Samaritan Road. This path drops in elevation many of the method from Nazareth to Jericho. Nazareth is approximately 1200 feet over sea level, when Jericho is about 850 feet listed below sea level.) The reduced the elevation, the higher the mean temperatures. Therefore this route was certainly hotter.

The final day’s hike native Jericho up to Jerusalem would have been tough. The readjust in altitude is practically 3000 feet over a food of about 16 miles. That’s an ext than a 3% grade. 

This critical day that the trip was the notorious Jericho Road—arid, rocky, lonely, and steep. This is a picture I take it of this nation on a recent pilgrimage to Israel: 


The Jericho Road was notorious for bandits, therefore the clever traveler go in a largish group and took a weapon.

But the one advantage that the Jordan method was that you didn’t have to go through Samaria.

Which course Did Jesus Take?

Jesus appears to have actually used both roads. We have a story about him walking with Samaria. And also we have a story about him going v Jericho.  

We nothing know which method he took much more often. If I had actually to guess, I’d say that he make the decision based greatly on temperature, and partly on time. 

In early on spring, nights could be cold, and the Jordan way would it is in warmer and therefore an ext inviting. 

In so late spring and early fall, days can be hot, and also the Samaritan road would it is in cooler and an ext tempting.

But Jesus would additionally have weighed the cost of the extra work to walk by the Jordan Way. Jesus no wealthy. He and his brothers operated as day-laborers. Every day on the roadway to Jerusalem to be a day no earning money ~ above the job.

Where walk Jesus Sleep?

Not everyone in Galilee could pertained to Jerusalem for 3 or four or 5 weeks at a stretch, so probably most Galileans stayed residence for many feasts. Yet even so, over there would have been several thousand human being on the road to Jerusalem at the same time as Jesus.

There to be no chains of motels that can handle that many civilization all in ~ once. 

Which means most everyone camped out follow me the way. 

You wouldn’t need a tent for camping, i beg your pardon is good because a tent would certainly be too lot weight to lug along.

All you really needed was a great wool cloak. Everybody had actually one. A heavy wool cloak to be a standard component of your wardrobe, precisely due to the fact that you could both wear it and sleep in it. 

A cloak would typically be big enough to wrap twice around your body, i m sorry made the a very effective sleeping bag.

You might carry your cloak in a animal leather bag slung on your shoulders. You could also carry food in the bag. 

Other Necessities ~ above the road to Jerusalem

You wouldn’t need to bring extra clothes. You can just undertake the exact same wool tunic because that the totality trip come Jerusalem and also back. Yes, the would obtain dirty after a few weeks, and also it would certainly smell, yet everyone else would certainly be dirty and smelly too, for this reason it i will not ~ be a huge deal.

But you did need to lug water. When you walk miles every job in the warm sun, water is essential. You could lug water in a waterskin on her shoulder. You could refill it follow me the way, mix it through beer or wine to kill germs.

You also needed a long fabric belt to wrap around your waist. If friend folded this correctly, it hosted your money safely. A couple of silver dinars would buy food and drink for the whole trip.

Finally, you might slip a short knife into your belt together a defense against bandits.

And it is all friend needed. Just sufficient gear to obtain you safely come Jerusalem and also back. Light sufficient to carry.

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Jesus and also his family and friends made this trip countless times over the years. 

What carry out you think? does the road to Jerusalem with Jesus sound like an adventure worth taking? In my forthcoming collection of novels, Crown of Thorns, we’ll take that journey several times.