Although the day had seemed long, most of it was spent sitting in a cramped position. We had ridden several hours by bus, waited for official clearance at Londorossi Gate, reboarded and ridden for what seemed to be another hour on the bumpiest road yet. It was mid-afternoon when we finally arrived at the drop-off point beneath the Shira Ridge.
"You know," Godfrey answered, still in reflective mode, "Some people say that Jesus climbed to the top of this mountain."
"Really?" I queried. I was curious where this could go.
"Yes. With his twelve . . . " He searched for the next word.
"Apostles?" I filled in.
"Yes. Apostles. They came here to pray."
Twenty-one Bible Lands Explorers from the United States and Mexico hit trail this summer in Israel-Palestine. In eleven days they managed to cover the ground from Dan to Beer-sheba. More importantly, these pilgrims came from from very different locations and stations of life. They gathered as strangers, but parted as family.
The advantages of exploring Bible Lands with a small group of friends are many. Priorities and agenda are not dictated by company interests. The racket of commissioned group shopping and guide-kickbacks are eliminated. Heightened interaction with local culture is possible. Pace is whatever the fellowship decides. In short, the tyranny of the program is eliminated.