Day 2 - A day in Galilee

Posted by Phil McAlister on

After a delicious breakfast at Hotel Caesar in Tiberius (hot & cold cereals & breads, egg dishes, fruits & veggies, and coffees & teas), the group was on the road at 7:30.  The day was spent touring where Jesus started his ministry in near the Sea of Galilee.  

Our first stop was on the northern end of the lake at the Mount of Beatitudes.  In a grove of trees we had devotions, reflecting on the Beatitudes Jesus gave us 2,000 years ago - probably at or near this location, a serene and mystical setting to reflect on the life of a disciple and where our God is in an often unjust world.  We ended our devotion time with singing and then wondering the beautiful grounds.

We next went a little further along the lake to explore the Church of the Fish & Loaves at Tabgha, the traditional site of Jesus's miracle of feeding the 5,000 who heard the Sermon on the Mount.  The chapel had a beautiful mosiac floor and was surrounded by beautiful gardens.  We next went to Capernaum, the center of Jesus's ministry, to see the ancient town and synagogue.  In each place we would read stories from the Gospels centered in this area.  The archeological site took on a mystical quality as our Jewish guide told us of a time she lead a group here and witnessed the group pray for a woman struggling to walk and seeing the woman slowly get up and start walking.

Close by we walked the excavated town of Bethesda - the home of 3 of Jesus's disciples.  All of us were amazed at how close each of the sites were to each other - all within relatively easy walking distance of each other.  We were also surprised at the fields of rocks everywhere throughout the region - in the Galilee a black volcanic rock which was the primary material to build with.  Jesus's father, Joseph, may well have been more of stone mason rather than our concept of a carpenter. 

Before a late lunch we had a boat ride on the Sea of Galilee - a wonderful time, with singing and dancing on the boat.  Lunch was a delicious fish dinner featuring the locally caught "St. Peter's Fish" - quite tasty!

After lunch we drove to the south end of the Galilee where the Jordan River leaves the lake (The Jordan is surprisingly small - maybe 10 feet wide entering in the northern end of the lake and 20 feet wide as it leaves in the southern end).  This southern location is one of three potential areas suspected as the site Jesus was baptized and it was here that many of us renewed our baptism.

The day ended with a tour of a diamond factory - a major export of the State of Israel.  Dinner back at the hotel was a variety of mediterrian and middle eastern cusine.





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