We had an early start this morning to drive 2.5 hours north to the Galilee region. Israel is a fascinating country. In many ways it looks modern, with cities and infrastructure everywhere you look, but then you realize that you are actually passing by biblical locations—real places where miracles happened. Where ancient wars were fought. Where Jesus and his disciples walked. To your right—Mount Tabor, believed to be the site of the transfiguration of Jesus. To your left—the Valley of Armageddon where the final battle will take place. Right now you are driving through the Valley of the Doves, where Jesus walked between Nazareth and the Sea of Galilee. It takes constantly readjusting your mind to look beyond the modern buildings and remember the stories you have grown up with.
|Inside the Church of the Annunciation|
We first stopped to visit two churches in Nazareth that commemorate the Annunciation. We also stopped by a Palestinian farm to see the pure green olive oil that they make every October. Next, we drove down to the Sea of Galilee (700ft below sea level) to board a Jesus boat and sail on the peaceful waters. In 1986 a boat was discovered at the bottom of the sea that dates back to the time of Jesus. Since then, all of the boats on the sea have been modeled in the same style, just bigger, to accommodate more tourists. Sailing on the sea was peaceful. We contemplated the many miracles that occurred there: when Jesus walked on water, when he calmed the stormy waters, when he called his disciples to become fishers of men. A tasty lunch of St. Peter’s fish topped off our experience. In the afternoon it was time to visit Capernaum. Although the Synagogue there was rebuilt a few centuries after Christ, the basalt foundation dates back to the time of Christ, and we know that Jesus taught there many times. Next, we remembered the miracle of the loaves and fishes. The Church of the Primacy of St. Peter sits right by the seashore and holds inside it the stone where tradition says that the miracle took place, where the baskets of food were multiplied. We had a chance to dip our feet into the cool waters before making our way up to the Mount of Beatitudes to enjoy sweeping views over the sea and remember the important teachings of Christ in Matthew 5.
|Sailing in a Jesus boat on the Sea of Galilee|
|The Sea of Galilee|
|A delicious lunch of St. Peter's fish|
|The Synagogue ruins at Capernaum|
|Dipping into the Sea of Galilee|
|Reading the Beatitudes together|