Book: In the Footsteps of the Master
Author: H.V. Morton
Methuen & Co. LTD. London, pp. 388
Excerpt from Introduction:
The story I tell in this book is a simple one. It describes the adventures of a man who went to the Holy Land to see the places associated with the life of Christ and to find out what new light the historian and the archaeologist have cast upon the world of the Gospels.
Enquiring pilgrims have made the same journey from Byzantine times until today, and, the pilgrimage map of the Holy Land does not alter, such a journey as much the same as it was during the Middle Ages. The thoughts also called up in the mind of the pilgrim on the Mount of Olives and in the Garden of Gethsemane, conditioned of course by the mental climate of the age, are fundamentally the same from time to time. As long as Bethlehem, Jerusalem, Nazareth and the lakeside of Galilee remain, the story told in this book will not date no matter what territorial or political changes occur between Dan and Beersheba.
Excerpt from Book:
A most remarkable thing is the sympathy that exists between a shepherd and his flock. He never drives them as our own shepherds drive their sheep. He always walks at their head, leading them along the roads and over the hills to new pasture: and, as he goes, he sometimes talks to them in a loud sing-song voice, using weird language unlike anything I have ever heard in my life.
The first time I heard sheep and goat language I was on the hills at the back of Jericho. A goat-herd had descended into a valley and was mounting the slope of an opposite hill when, turning round he saw his goats had remained behind to devour a rich patch of scrub. Lifting his voice, he spoke to the goats in a language that Pan mut have spoken on the mountains of Greece. It was uncanny because there was nothing human about it. The words were animal sounds arranged in a kind of order. No sooner had he spoken than an answering bleat shivered over the herd, and one or two of the animals turned their heads in his direction. But they did not obey him. The goat-herd then called out one word and gave a laughing kind of whinny. Immediately a goat with a bell around his neck stopped eating and, leaving the herd, trotted down the hill, across the valley and up the opposite slopes. The man, accompanied by this animal, walked on and disappeared round a ledge of rock. Very soon a panic spread among the herd. They forgot to eat. They looked up for the shepherd. He was not to be seen. The became conscious that the leader with the bell at his neck was no longer with them. From the distance came the strange laughing call of the shepherd, and at the sound of it the entire herd stampeded into the hollow and leapt up the hill after him.
. . . Early one morning I saw an extraordinary sight not far from Bethlehem. Two shepherds had evidently spent the night with their flocks in a cave. The sheep were all mixed together and the time had come for the shepherds to go in different directions. One of the shepherds stood some distance from the sheep and began to call. First, one, then another, then four or five animals ran towards him; and so on until he had counted his whole flock.
More interesting than the sight of this was the knowledge that Jesus must have seen exactly the same sight and described it in His own word:
"He called his own sheep by name, and lead them out. . . . . I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep and am known by mine."
Table of Contents:
Describes a journey to the Holy Land and an impression of Jerusalem. . . . .
How Golgotha was discovered by Constantine under a pagan temple, how the Church of the Holy Sepulcher grew up on the site, and how this church today is divided between different Christian communities. . . .
I watch sunrise from the Mount of Olives. I enter the shrine of the Dome of the Rock, which was once the Altar of Burnt Offerings, and I see in a great mosque the ghost of Herod's Temple. . . .
On the way to Bethlehem I discover a relic of Pontius Pilate. I visit Bethlehem, enter the Grotto of the Nativity, meet descendants of the Crusaders, travel to Hebron and to Beersheba, . . . .
I travel through Samaria, see Jacob's Well, and meet the last Samaritans. . . .
In which I go to the Sea of Galilee and stay in Tiberias. I walk the hill which once held the palace of Herod Antipas, and go out fishing with men of Galilee
I stay in a garden by the Sea of Galilee, discover the ruined church of the Loaves and Fishes, try to reconstruct the life of the lakeside as Jesus knew it . . . .
I explore the ruins of Caesarea Philippi, go to Sidon, visit the hill dominated by Hester Stanhope, draw a pen for St. George, climb the ramparts of the greatest crusading castle in Syria. . . .
I go in search of the castle of Machaerus where Salome danced before Antipas . . . .
The Passover, Easter, and the Feast of Nebi Musa occupy the attention of Jerusalem. The city begins to wear an expression that was familiar to Pontius Pilate. I attend the ceremony of the Holy Fire and watch the black monks "Search for the Body of Christ."