December 3, 2022
We started our day with an early morning trip to the Jordan River where important stories of Jesus’s ministry took place; most importantly, the inauguration of His public ministry when he was baptized by John the Baptizer. It was here that His Father in Heaven and the Holy Spirit gave public witness that Jesus was the Son of God and that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit were in union as the Trinity. We took time on the banks of the Jordan to remember our own baptisms as we reenacted that part of our personal spiritual journeys with water from the Jordan. It was a priceless moment in time. Interestingly, the water was warm on this beautiful winter day.
Nearby, we arrived on a hill overlooking the Sea Of Galilee into which the River Jordan flows. Atop the hill is a church covering the spot where Jesus preached the famous “Sermon on the Mount.” We read part of the sermon from the Bible and sang the old hymn, “Just as I Am,” to recall that the sermon was in part a call to follow Jesus throughout life. Surrounding the church was a beautiful garden which had awesome views of the Sea of Galilee below.
Just a short drive away is Capernaum where the Apostle Peter lived. Located here is a portion of Peter’s preserved home where Jesus would have been a guest. Steps away is the synagogue ruins where the Bible records that Jesus read from the Old Testament. It is also here that Jesus healed the daughter of Jairus, a leader in the community.
After just a short drive was the place along the Sea of Galilee where Jesus performed the miracle of the loaves and fishes feeding thousands of people. It was first marked with a stone upon which later a beautiful church was built. Under the altar is the ancient stone marker. It was fitting that we drove to a nearby local restaurant where we ate fried fish, called “Peter’s Fish,” and had bread. The fish was wonderful!
After lunch, we drove to a shore line rocky beach where the resurrected Jesus noticed that the fishermen were not catching fish and told them to cast their nets on the other side on the boat. When they did so, they hauled in an oversupply of fish. Upon reaching shore, they noticed that Jesus was the man who had called out to them. Shortly thereafter, the disciple Peter, who had denied Jesus three times in public was restored to ministry by Jesus Himself as He asked Peter to “Feed my sheep.” A church and beautiful gardens surround this beach.
Then, as the light began to fade, we arrived at our fishermen’s boat for a ride on the tranquil Sea of Galilee. It was another awe-inspiring time as we viewed one Biblical site after another as we sailed the middle of the lake. Praise music played and we often burst into singing. The high hills that surround the Sea of Galilee provided a majestic backdrop to the deep blue waters, and the setting sun and flocks of birds that surrounded the boat couldn’t have been prettier. We danced and sang and meditated along the way.
Departing the boat, we walked to a museum which houses an over 2,000 year old Sea of Galilee fishing boat. It had been preserved in the mud of the lake. Because it was made of cedar, it is the only such ancient boat in existence. It dates to the time of Jesus. A question on the museum wall asks if Jesus would have seen this boat or maybe even sailed in it? We will never know.
What an amazingly refreshing day filled with spiritual enrichment and encouragement!
Our stops nearly always include Bible reading about the place we are encountering and often some Biblical commentary or prayers. Donna is a great Bible scholar and Ori, our guide, “knows his stuff!” I add the pastoral touch. We are in Bibleland! God be praised!