According to singer/songwriter Bobby Troup, if you want to get some kicks, your best bet is to take Route 66. Ah, but what if you’re looking for something a bit more substantial than mere kicks, something more edifying to the soul, what road should you take then? Well, former United States Ambassador to Israel David Friedman and former United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo have a suggestion, and they’ve made a documentary hoping to convince you to follow it.
Highway 60, or Route 60 as the filmmakers prefer to call it, is a 146-mile stretch of roadways running through Israel and the West Bank from Beersheba to Nazareth. As it meanders through both Israeli and Palestinian territories, the route has at times been the scene of violence over the past few decades, but that’s not the history Friedman and Pompeo are interested in. No, the stories these notables hope to connect with are much, much older, some dating as far back as 4,000 years ago.
Ruminating on what it means to walk with God
Route 60 roughly corresponds with The Way of the Patriarchs, a series of ancient roadways and trails travelled by the likes of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, names which should be familiar to anyone with even a passing knowledge of any of the world’s three major monotheistic religions. In fact, as Friedman, Pompeo, and their crew move along Route 60, frequently stopping to point out places of interest to believers, it becomes obvious that The Way of the Patriarchs offers something of a greatest hits package of tales from the Bible.
The location where Abraham built an altar to offer Isaac as sacrifice, the spot where Jacob envisioned a ladder to Heaven and struggled with God, the tombs of Joseph and King Saul, Jereboam’s choice of venue for his famous feast, all are located on or near Route 60, and all are discussed in detail as the film’s two narrators stop to ponder the significance of each one. Lest you think this trip down memory lane is limited to only Old Testament happenings though, remember that Route 60 also passes through Bethlehem and Nazareth as well, so the New Testament is also well accounted for.
As the film is hosted by an ex-ambassador and an ex-secretary of state, there’s always the possibility the proceedings might get political, but thankfully very little time is spent reminiscing on past policy making (though there is some; after all, they’re only human). Instead, the documentary is little bit of a travelogue, a little bit of an ad for Israeli tourism, and a whole lot of ruminating on what it means to walk with God.
Footsteps of generations
How could it not be? The biblical history surrounding Route 60 is so all encompassing that by some estimates as much as 80% of the events found in Scripture took place somewhere on or around it. And if it accomplishes anything, this documentary assures us that those events did actually take place. It shows us the roads those people walked on, the wells they drank from, the altars they built, and the graves they rest in.
To travel this highway, the documentary proposes, is to follow in the footsteps of generations who struggled to maintain a relationship with the Author of everything, and who left us their stories to help in our own journeys. You may not get your kicks on Route 60, but you might get something far more meaningful.
Route 60: The Biblical Highway is playing in select theaters September 18 & 19.