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Walking with Jesus

"Walking with Jesus" is the title of a series of landscape paintings created after an unforgettable trip to Israel one summer. I never dreamed that I would walk with Jesus, where He once walked, taught, prayed and lived out His brief life upon the earth. But I did!

It was the trip of a lifetime—an unexpected birthday present by my husband, who often surprises me with his creativity, despite the fact that he is every inch a routine-driven engineer at heart.

The idea of a trip to Israel was as foreign to me as if I was given an opportunity to sky dive, or bungee jump off the side of a cliff! It was not on my bucket list. I don't even have a bucket list. Life has simply been too busy to contemplate leaving so soon as to actually plan for it!

The gift of this trip included the opportunity to hike the Jesus Trail. At the time it was a relatively new experience created by the Israeli Tourism Department for the countless Christian travelers to this land.

We went as a motley group of thirteen from around the world, united in our love for Jesus, the Bible, and therefore this beautiful land. We formed easy friendships that were memorable, despite our cultural and geographical differences. Those who walked the entire trail, walked approximately 40 miles in four days. Unfortunately, I opted out on one of the four days to give my sore feet a break! The distances that Jesus and the disciples walked frequently and effortlessly were astounding to me.

Landscape painting of walking with Jesus on the Jesus trail in Israel.
Walking with Jesus, Oil on Board, Sara Joseph

Walking with Jesus, on the trail was an experience that has taken me quite a few months to process. If you think that it is presumptuous or foolish to imagine that He walked with me, I'd have to disagree. His presence was very real on every step of the trail.

We did not walk together as a group all the time, so I found myself frequently alone for much of the trail, except for His unmistakable presence. Does that sound strange? It should not—He is with you too.

Learning to recognize His presence may come slowly and sometimes only in hindsight. But as a Bible-believing Christian, you ought to be assured that you too walk with Jesus, regardless of whether you sense it or not. He has promised never to leave or forsake us.

I did not paint these paintings in plein-aire as I would have preferred, but rather worked from photographs. Yet I pray that the emotions of those few precious days were expressed with every stroke of the brush, color decisions and even in the selection of each composition of that Galilean countryside.

Visiting Israel made the Bible come alive in brilliant color and texture. Something about the sun rising over the Galilee, whispered that His mercies were indeed new every morning. The early morning sounds of birds chirping reminded me of His unfailing care. Israel was truly the land flowing with milk and honey. It was hard to escape His presence everywhere; even the fragrance of freshly baking bread reminded me of His declaration that He was "The bread of Life".

Someday (if you have not already) I hope that you too will literally retrace the steps that Jesus took on those beautiful stony paths between Nazareth, Cana and all the way to Capernaum. Or maybe your walk with Him will be limited to enjoying His presence and comfort in the daily challenges of life. However it happens, I pray that my work and words will assure you of His steadfast love and care.

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