Friday….Galilee

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The day begins with a visit to Mt. Arbel.  Slopping upward on the seaward side, with cliffs and caves on the other, this mountain provided hiding places for the Jewish people in AD 66-70 as the Romans squelched the Jewish uprising. The only good picture I get of the mountain is from the Sea at sunset but we see the caves clearly from the base of the mountain in the morning.

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We also walk a little of the Jesus Trail…the path from Nazereth to Capernaum that I wrote about yesterday. Today we are the opposite end.

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Sea of Galilee ~ We spend the entire day around the Sea. A boat ride out onto the sea is beautiful and peaceful.

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Quiet time on the Mount of Beatitudes….the gentle slope where Jesus “opened His mouth and taught them saying” the teachings we have recorded in Matthew 5 and more.

I love learning about how Jesus’ parables and teachings tie in with the setting here.  When He said, “A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid” , maybe Jesus gestured to the right and pointed up to Safed (or Zefat), a city that *is* on a hill and easily seen from where they sat. “See you guys”, Jesus might have said, “see those lights? That’s how MY light will shine through you. It can’t be hid!”  Did He look around at the listeners with hope in His eyes, praying they would understand?

IMG_0631The third time Jesus appears after his resurrection he calls out to the disciples “Come and dine” and fixes fish for them over a fire. At this spot, we can walk right into the water.

IMG_0634The beach here is not sand but rather, millions of tiny shells. I slip a handfull in my pocket and am so pleased I wore my water shoes today.

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And thankful my feet are planted on the Solid Rock!

IMG_0626This stone is supposedly the one upon which Jesus served the fish to his disciples.

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But I think it might have been this one <3

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We have St. Peter’s fish for lunch. Well, some of us do. Those of us who have seen St. Peter’s fish pictures over the years feel no need to suffer through the chore of de-boning our lunch. We opt for a delicious fillet.

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Capernaum ~ A busy port city on the Sea in Jesus’ day, this town was on the Via Maris and thus subject to many different influences. We see stones from the foundation of the synagogue which was here when Jesus taught here. Caperneum is considered to be the base of Jesus’ ministry while he was around the Sea of Galilee. Miracles happened in this town, several we have recorded and no doubt many more occured.

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“Woe unto thee, Chorazin! Woe unto thee, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works had been done in Tyre and Sidon, which have been done in you, they had a great while ago repented, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted to heaven, shalt be thrust down the hell”.  Luke 10:13-15

We see ruins of the home where Peter’s mother-in-law was healed. I don’t know whether it’s because we have seen so many or if I’m just having an off day but some of these ruins look suspiciously not-old to me. Wyatt points out a children’s game carved on one of the floors and I feel a little better. This is all more meaningful if I think of the people who might have lived here.

So far, what I like the very best is the Sea of Galilee, the Jesus trail, and the skyline. These, I know, are genuine.

We are near the Golan Heights now. I’m not sure how I feel about being 10 miles from Syria. I must say….we have felt nothing but peace since arriving in Israel. It’s kind of hard to believe that the countries we read about in the news are…um….just over that hill.

Last stop is Krusi, the land of Gadarenes, where the evil spirits were cast into the swine and the pigs all ran into sea. The bible says they ran violently down a steep place…not necessarily over a cliff the way our children’s bible story books show it. 😉  Nabeal points out that the men who owned these pigs would not have been Jews…. that means Jesus was up here walking about in a pagan community of Romans and non-Jewish folks when this miracle took place.  We can easily see clusters of caves in the mountainside….maybe we are looking at the same cave the possessed man lived in before being set free by Jesus.

Our cottages are back at the Kibbutz and we return here for another delicious buffet. Dwayne and I have time to walk down to the Sea of Galilee and watch the sunset. From here, we can see the present day city of Tiberius and many other landmarks around the sea. Today was a little cloudy and rainy…hoping for sunshine tomorrow.

Written on the run….

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