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            HER name was Mary, a form of the name Miriam, the famous sister of Moses. The name was common among Jewish women in those days. A well-known tradition says she was born in Jerusalem; she was the daughter of Joachim and Ann. Mary grew up mostly in the Jewish settlements of Nazareth, in the hills of Galilee. The Jews were strong people. The hill climate was dry and beneficial. Though the land often lacked water and no one knew if enough rain would fall from one year to the next or if locusts or field mice would spoil their crops, facing adversity only made the people of Galilee stronger and more supportive of each other. Struggling for a living deepened on their religious spirit. They learned that they must always trust and depend on God. .
             Mary was a woman of rural Galilee. She lived as they did, in a small family house of stone and mud-brick. She worked like any young girl, grinding wheat and barley into flour. Wool had to be made into clothing. Bread had to be baked. "Almost daily she carried a large jar of water from the town well for washing and cooking the well still supplies modern Nazareth today and is called Mary's Well"(Charles 27). Just as for the other women of Nazareth, the seasons and times of harvest determined what Mary had to do. With the first downpour of rain in October, the essential wheat crop was sown on the mountain fields, to be gathered if all went well in May. And In the village, as small as it was, there were always little children to care for.
             The people of Nazareth had a strong Jewish faith. As God's chosen people, descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the Jews believed this land was theirs, given to their ancestors whom Moses led out of Egypt. They knew by heart the deeds of kings like David and Solomon and the words of prophets like Isaiah and Elijah. Even though .
             the Romans occupied Palestine, the Jews of Galilee believed God would someday send a Messiah who would free Israel from their enemies.


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