Belly bumps

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The Church of the Visitation helps us remember the place where Mary met Elizabeth. That church overlooks the village of Ein Kerem, Israel, and that meeting is recorded in Luke 1:39-56 (see here).

At the sound of Mary's voice the unborn child (who would become John the Baptist) was stirred. As for Mary, she responded to the moment in song. That song is remembered as "the Magnificat" and is named after the first word of the song in the Latin Vulgate. It pulls at threads from the Old Testament such as the Song of Hannah (see here). Mary's words create "belly bumps" both within and across the Testaments, tracing the ongoing work of God amid the People of God.

The sculpture pictured above stands in the courtyard outside the Church of the Visitation. Translations of the Magnificat in many different languages are posted on the wall behind it.

This place has been venerated by pilgrims for more than a thousand years. Modern structures mask earlier Byzantine remains.


Dr. Mark Ziese, Dean of the School of Bible and Theology at Johnson University, manages the website Bible Land Explorer and teaches regularly in the Biblical heartland. You are invited to join Mark and Vicki for a Mediterranean Cruise aboard the Celebrity Reflection in October, 2018. Onboard lectures will focus on Paul's fourth missionary journey. See the link here for details.