We had our first rainy day today, although actually it cleared this afternoon. This was the first substantial rain of the season for Israel, a blessing for them! After breakfast we drove to the best lookout over the NW corner of the Sea of Galilee, Arbel. We walked about 10 minutes for a beautiful view of the NW Galilee region. It was clear enough to see the coastline. While it rained, we got a sense of the “big picture” of Christ’s ministry. From here, we drove to Yardenit, the baptismal site. 13 enjoyed the waters of the Jordan River as they renewed their desire to follow Christ. Close by is the Kinneret Cemetery, where “Rachel,” an early Jewish settler is buried. Although she lived an anonymous life, she is well known for her poetry. We drove from here along the western coastline of the Sea of Galilee, through Tiberias, to Magdala. This is a new excavation that revealed a 1st century synagogue. While the site is not officially opened to tourists yet, it was worthwhile to see. We all enjoyed a quiet time along the shoreline while reflecting upon Matthew 13.
Following lunch at Nof Ginnosar where we saw 1st century boat (found in 1986), we enjoyed a boat ride on the lake. We shared worship together, as well as reading the storm narratives from the Gospels. While finishing the boat ride, we marveled at the rainbow that appeared over the lake. Beautiful!
Our last three sites were Chorazin, Mount of Beatitudes, and Capernaum. Chorazin is known for its basaltic stone structures and 3rd century synagogue, while the Mount of Beatitudes is where Jesus shared his first recorded sermon. Here, we are able to see the natural amphitheater where Jesus may have talked to the crowd. We read from Matthew 5 and heard Shlomo share the same passage in Hebrew. Finally, Capernaum was Jesus’ “home base” of ministry. We read Mark 1 and 2, and Luke 7 in the 4-5th synagogue. The final view from the shoreline was very nice as the sun set. A great day learning and celebrating the life and ministry of Jesus!