The following is a summary of our 5th day on our April, 2013 Israel tour.
April 11 (Day 5)
The day began with an optional sunrise gathering on the lake. Following another great breakfast, we loaded the bus at 8 and headed to the Mt. of Beatitudes. Located on the NW corner of the Sea of Galilee, we enjoyed listening to Shlomo read the Matthew 5 passage in Hebrew. We enjoyed the time of quietness while easily picturing where this first sermon of Jesus may have been delivered. Also here, we saw the church on the grounds. Next and close by, we visited Chorazin. This 2-3rd century AD town has a synagogue as well as an interesting mikva, a Jewish ritual bath. In the synagogue is a specific seat called the Moses Seat (as mentioned in Matthew 23).
The third stop of the day was Capernaum. Here we sat in a 4-5th century synagogue, saw the possible location for the house of Peter, and enjoyed a time of reading Mark 1 and 2, Luke 7, and John 6, all stories conveying the s’mekah (or “authority”) of Jesus.
The “surprise” experience of the day was to actually be able to visit the new excavation of Magdala. Amazingly, we were able to actually sit in the 1st century synagogue! Being the only Galilean synagogue that dates to the time of Jesus, and being only one of seven total synagogues dating to this time period in all of Israel, it as very special to be able to experience this first hand. While Magdala is not mentioned in the Bible, no doubt Jesus taught in this synagogue Himself. Magdala was the home town of Mary mentioned in the Bible.
After lunch, we saw the 1st century AD boat found at Nof Ginosar followed by an enjoyable hour-long boat ride on the lake. We spent time reading the storm narratives from the Gospels. We even enjoyed witnessing Greg and Karen renewing their wedding vows on the boat.
Next, we visited Arbel, the mountain overlooking the lake. What a great view from here! Visibility was good. We read from Matthew 13 and talked about the mashal (parable) teaching of Jesus. From here we drove to the southern end of the lake and enjoyed an optional baptism in the Jordan River. 9 renewed their baptism. The final stop was to the Kinneret Cemetery. Here, a Jewish pioneer named Rachel was buried. Her poems still live on today for all Israelis.
We arrived back at the hotel for dinner. We leave this kibbutz tomorrow morning.
To see more sample pictures of today, go to the April, 2013 page.
Tomorrow we drive south and will see Bethshean, Jericho, and Bethlehem south of Jerusalem. We spend our first of several nights tomorrow in Jerusalem!