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March 12th 2022
Published: March 12th 2022
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The pandemic has interrupted many, many things, and in my life, one has been a planned trip to Israel, the Holy Land. Finally, it is happening. This trip is with our church in Brentwood, TN, Brentwood United Methodist, led by the senior pastor, Davis Chappell and includes 50 other members and friends. Although the timing was delayed years, making this pilgrimage during the 40 days leading up to Easter could not have been better timing.

Sophie and I left Pensacola Tuesday morning and after connections in Atlanta and JFK, we arrived in Tel Aviv Wednesday evening, and were then bused two hours north to our hotel in Tiberias, on the banks Sea of Galilee. Getting to bed finally at 11:00 pm, in spite of travel preparation and melatonin, jet lag set in and we were awake very early on Thursday.

Many of the sites we are to visit are represented as the site of various biblical events in the life of Jesus. While some sites are known from biblical and historical references, I have taken many to be celebrations of the event at the approximate site of the event.

Thursday, we bussed to the coast to visit Caesarea and a roman aqueduct and amphitheater. The setting, right on the ocean was particularly beautiful. We then went to Nazareth and visited Gabriel’s Church of Annunciation, the site Mary was told by Gabriel that she would bear the Savior of the world. We ended the day at the Mount of Precipice, overlooking Nazareth and the Jezreel valley.

Friday, we visited the Mount of Beatitudes, the Tabaha’s Church celebrating the multiplication of the Loaves and Fishes, the Church of the Primacy celebrating the calling of Peter by Jesus to feed his flock, to Capernaum, the city where Jesus spent the last 3 years of his life, and to Magdala, where Mary lived. We also squeezed in a boat ride on the Sea of Galilee. In Magdala, a church has been excavated in just the past few years which dates back to the first century AD. Given that Jesus lived in nearby Capernaum, had a close relationship with Mary Magdalene and taught throughout the area, it would not be difficult to imagine Jesus actually teaching there.

So two days done. I am up again in the middle of the night. My impressions so far. It is quite cold and windy here; I definitely brought the wrong clothes. It is very green, not the biblical desert I had in my mind. I have heard all my life about the Sea of Galilee and theses sites from my Christian up bringing. To be here, see the land and water, hear again the biblical stories read by Dr. Chappell, and realize I am truly walking where Jesus walked, is just beyond comprehension. All praise to God.


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