3,4 PICTURESQUE PALESTINE.
hours. There are two routes which we have followed at different times : one leading to the
east, past Khan Jubb Yusef to Khan Minyeh (see pages 311 and 313); and the other leading
south under the majestic cliffs of Akhbara and just above the wild gorge of Leimon (see pao-es
323 and 325), and thence reaching the plain of Gennesaret at Abu Shusheh. Either way the
roads are not free from difficulties, such as sharp ascents and fields of boulders; still both are
interesting, if romantic scenery and other natural attractions are to be considered.
Khan Jubb Yusef, which we pass on the first-mentioned route, about half-way between
Safed (see page 328) and Khan Minyeh (see page 311), is distinguished now for its dirty
water; but a curious Arab tradition makes it the place where Joseph was thrown into the pit
by his brethren. At that point we strike the line of the Roman road running from the south
to Damascus, and follow it to Khan Minyeh, where we touch the lake. This khan, which is
now in ruins, has no antiquity to recommend it to our notice ; and indeed at this point there
are, above ground, few ruins of any kind, and none that date from any remote period. This
place bears also the name 'Ain et Tin, or Fountain of the Fig-tree, and one or two old but
small and partly decayed fig-trees still exist by the spring, so that the name is not entirely
without significance (see page 313).
The high land which we have followed in coming from Khan Jubb Yusef terminates here
in a rocky bluff, the face of which rises perpendicularly from the lake, leaving no space for a
road or path along the shore. Consequently, the road from the south turns aside and goes up
over the bluff, and descends again to the plain of 'Ain et Tabighah, which is farther east.
The Fountain of the Fig-tree is very near the edge of the lake, and, when the water in that is
high, would not be much above its level. Between the fountain and the lake there is a large
marsh filled with reeds and papyrus (see page 313). This is the only place about the Sea of
Galilee where the papyrus grows at present, and although it is being gradually displaced by
the more hardy canes or reeds, still sufficient is left to form, when it is growing, a large and
beautiful field of green. Besides Khan Minyeh, the papyrus is found now in Palestine only at
Lake Huleh, the Merom of the Old Testament, where many acres are covered with a luxuriant
growth of the same (see page 340). The tall slender stalks and graceful heads of this plant
present a strange but attractive appearance, especially when a thicket of them rises directly
from the surface of the water, which has overflowed to a considerable depth the ground where
they stand. In the face of this bluff there is a wide trench cut in the rock, which is used now
as a path, and horses and loaded animals slip and stumble when urged along its uneven bed.
This was designed as an aqueduct to bring water from the fountain of Tabighah to the plain
of Gennesaret, and many of the stones of which its walls were constructed are found with the
cement still adhering to them (see page 313). This trench, according to our own measurements,
is fifty-three feet above the surface of the lake.
From this point the plain of Gennesaret is spread out before us like a vast garden (see
page 311). Mejdel, at the farther end, and Tiberias, some miles below that, are in full view;
while from the bluff above the fountain not only the southern end of the lake, but its entire