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Published: February 17th 2018
Today was a rainy day. Many of us were awakened in the night by a storm and rain beating on the windows. We are all grateful for the rain though because or friends in Israel have about 320 dry days and they need rain. We headed out to our first stop which was a boat ride on the Sea of Galilee. It is one of my favorite things to do here. We go out into the boat and read scripture and hear stories about Jesus, his teachings and his miracles. About 70% of Jesus teaching and miracles were performed around the Sea of Galilee. Some of the ones we might quickly remember are: The calming of the storm (Mark 4:35-41), the sermon on the mount (Matthew 5:1-12), the feeding of the 5,000 (Mark 6:30-44), and Jesus walking on water (Mark 6:45-52). there is a place there where to mountains come together with a valley between them. This is where Jesus walked to get to the Sea Galilee and it is also where the storms blew through. While on the boat today the rain stopped briefly an the sun tried to shine. The sky was beautiful.
Following our boat ride we
Singing the National Anthem
whet to the Yigal Alon Museum which is on the Sea of Galilee and houses the ancient boat referred to as "The Jesus Boat". The boat was discovered in the mid 1980's by two brothers who were fishermen and amateur archaeologists. It was dug up, kept wet constantly (for fear of it turning to wood dust), encased in foam, floated to the shop where it spent ten year in a chemical bath before it was placed in the museum for viewing. It was made of twelve types of wood (maybe to represent the twelve tribes of Israel). While is can't be identified at Jesus' boat, it is definitely from that time period.
Our next stop was the Mount of the Beatitudes. There is a Roman Catholic Church built on the site which is active today. It is a beautiful site with lush gardens, fountains, trees, all overlooking the Sea of Galilee. Off to the side on the hillside is where Jesus preached to the multitude. It's easy to imagine it when you are there. As you enter the area and walk toward the church each of the beatitudes is etched in stone. You can't help but read them all
(even in the rain) and just process what they mean and which one speaks to me the most. I walked around the church and as I looked toward the Sea of Galilee the sky was just gorgeous. I tried to capture it in pictures but I failed to get the beauty of it all.
St. Peter's Primacy is a church built on the site where Jesus appeared to the disciples and prepared breakfast (John 21:1-14). This is also the place where Jesus told Peter that "you are Peter and on this rock I will build my church" (Matthew 16:18) In the church is the rock and outside the church you can walk along the Sea of Galilee and pick up rocks to take home.
From the St. Peter's Primacy we went to have lunch. Today's lunch was St Peter's fish. If you remember the story from Matthew 17 when Peter asked Jesus about paying the tax he told Peter to cast a net and in the fish's mouth would be a coin to pay the tax. In addition to the fish the meal included onion ring loaf, cole slaw, pita and hummus and was delicious. Of course Bill Dawson had
to put a coin in his fish's mouth to make sure it was authentic!
Capernaum is known as the town of Jesus because he spent so much time there. Peter, Andrew, James, and John also lived there. There is a church built over the actual site which was the home of Peter's mother-in-law whom Jesus healed (Matthew 8:14-16) as well as others. There is also the ruins of the synagogue where Jesus frequently taught .It is known as the city of comfort where Jesus performed many miracles and comforted many people. When you are there it is hard to believe that you are standing where Jesus stood and lived and it is easy to feel his presence on this Holy Ground.
That really is the way you feel the entire time you are visiting sites in the Holy Land. This is my third trip here. The first time I was so overwhelmed by being here that I don't thin I could take it all in. This time it is all making sense to me and I get the connection from place to place and event to event. Believe me I am still overwhelmed that I have had the
blessed opportunity to walk where Jesus walked. I know many of our family and friends think we are nuts to visit the Middle East. I am here to tell you that the people are friendly. The love Americans. They want you to feel welcome and safe in their country....and we do! Don't let your fear keep you from a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. It is well worth your time and money!
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