DAY 5 – FRIDAY, APRIL 28:
Today was a day of focusing on Jesus. Spending the day around the Sea of Galilee, we visited many sites and locations, all connected with Jesus and His ministry. Beginning with a wonderful sunrise, today was another sunny one, with comfortable temps in the high 80s, with a nice wind.
Leaving the hotel at about 7:40 and reading Matthew 13, we drove to the trailhead that leads to the top of Mt. Arbel. Nine in the group choose to climb this 800 foot-high mountain that overlooks the NE corner of the lake. The others in the group bussed around through Tiberias and up the western side. Meeting at the top, we had a marvelous view of this region where Jesus served.
From here we drove to the southern end of the lake for an optional baptism service in the Jordan River. At this place called Yardenit, it was a special time for the group, with 12 reaffirming their faith in Christ and with being baptized for the first time! We even had the entire place to ourselves!
Driving back north, we visited Magdala. Here we visited the 1st century ruins of this city where “Mary Magdalene” as from. This included seeing a 1st century synagogue uncovered just a few years ago. We also enjoyed a time of singing in the new devotional chapel built on the grounds.
After lunch (St. Peter’s fish!), we drove to Chorazim. Here among the basaltic-stone ruins we visited the 3rd century synagogue. We saw the replica of the Moses Seat. We read from Matthew 23.
Close by but down on the shoreline is Capernaum. This was the “home-base” for Jesus’ ministry in the Galilee. It was where Jesus called some of His disciples. Sitting in the 5th century synagogue we read from Mark 1, 2, & 9; Luke 7; and John 6, all stories about Jesus’ ministry here. Down on the water’s edge we enjoyed a time of reflection.
Nof Ginnosar (where our hotel is) was our next stop. Here we first visited the ancient boat (“Jesus Boat”) found here in 1986 by two brothers from the kibbutz. It dates to the time of Jesus! We could picture this being the type of boat used by Jesus and His disciples. Then we enjoyed out our boat ride out on the lake. We read from Mark 4 and Matthew 14 (the two “storm narratives”… the wind was strong across the lake, adding to the “effect” of the stories) and enjoyed a time of worship and quiet reflection.
We ended the day by sitting on the Mt. of Beatitudes and listening to the words of Matthew 5 in both Hebrew and English. This was where Jesus delivered His Sermon on the Mount. We reflected upon His kingdom principles as we walked down to the water’s edge in solitude. The scenery of the lake and mountains across the lake was spectacular!
Driving back to our hotel, we enjoyed dinner and a free evening. What a fantastic day of focusing upon Jesus our Savior!
DAY 6 – SATURDAY, APRIL 29: KINNERET CEMETERY, BEIT SHEAN, BEIT APLHA, SHILOH, JERICHO, DEAD SEA