Nearly every child has heard the story of Bethlehem and the birth of Christ, but even before that story begins, nearly 1000 years before, Bethlehem was important throughout the Bible. It was the birthplace of David, and today, it remains one of the most important cities in the Holy Land. As you visit, make the time for these places.
Church of the nativity
Widely considered the place of Christ’s birth, this should be your first stop on your tour. You’ll enter from the Church of the Nativity, and inside, you’ll see a stunning 14-point silver star on its marble floor. This small space, just 39’ by 9’ is lit by 48 hanging lamps on feast days.
St. Jerome’s Cave
St. Jerome spent 30 years translating the scriptures from their original Hebrew to Latin, and the task took 30 years. Much of it was done in this cool, underground study area. He began his work in AD 386, and today, you can access his workplace through Church of St. Catherine. The same caves house the Chapel of the Holy Innocents, those infants killed by Herod in his attempt to the newly born “King of the Jews.”
“And Shepherds kept watch over their flock,” are the words Luke wrote, and they did so here. It is this place that helped Jesus make a connection with the lowliest of the flock, and it is here that so many still feel that connection today. Just east of the area is the Field of Ruth, the namesake for the book in the Old Testament.
Tomb of Rachel
Rachel, Jacob’s beloved wife, is buried here. A small white dome, many women feel a connection to Rachel, as she died giving birth to Benjamin. It was Jacob who built a pillar at her grave to honor her memory, and today it is a symbol of so much in many different faiths.