DAY 5 – TUESDAY, OCTOBER 16: ARBEL, MAGDALA, CHORAZIM, CAPERNAUM, MT. OF BEATITUDES, SEA OF GALILEE BOAT RIDE
Today was another sunny day, with warmer temps near 90. We spent the entire day in the region of the Sea of Galilee. Our focus was on the life and ministry of Jesus.
Following another hearty breakfast, we drove a short distance to the trailhead of Mt. Arbel. We read Matthew 13 on the way. About 25 in the group climbed the trail to the top, while others drove around and approached the top from the west. The panoramic view of the NW corner of the Sea of Galilee below was amazing! We could picture seeing Jesus move from one village to another in this area.
Leaving Arbel we drove around the upper side of Tiberias to the southern end of the lake. Here we entered the Kinneret Cemetery. Shlomo shared with us the life story of “Rachel” (Rachel Bluwstein, 1890-1931). She was an Ukrainian Jewish pioneer to the land of Israel. Today, she is famous for her poems. She even appears on the new Israeli 20 shekel bill!
Driving North through Tiberias, Magdala was our next stop. This was the home of Mary Magdalene. Here we saw 1st century ruins including a synagogue. Jesus must have taught from here! Most likely, after the Feeding of the 4,000, Jesus and His disciples sailed back to this area (Mt. 15).
“Today was a day to focus on Jesus. We literally walked in His footsteps at a number of sites today. Beginning with the hike up Arbel to the boat ride on the lake, it was wonderful to be able to picture Jesus in all of these places.”
Following lunch, we visited Chorazin, one of the cities condemned by Jesus (Matthew 11). Entering the 3rd century synagogue, we read from Matthew 23. We saw a replica of the “Moses Seat.” We considered the importance of humility and servanthood in our walk of faith.
Mt. of Beatitudes
Overlooking the NW corner of the lake is the Mt. of Beatitudes. This is one possible location where Jesus shared His “Sermon on the Mount.” We heard the first part of Matthew 5 read in both Hebrew and English. We considered the timeless truths of the kingdom principles here and the importance to “seek first the kingdom of God (Mt. 6:33).” Afterwards, many in the group walked down the path to the shoreline.
Next, our visit to Capernaum was special as well. This city located on the natural route served as the “ministry base” for Jesus here in the Galilee. Sitting in the 5th century synagogue (the 1st century one is most likely below this one) we read from Mark 1,2, and 9; Luke 7 and 8; and John 6. We also took a few moments of reflection in the shoreline of the lake. This was where Jesus called a few of His disciples (Mt. 4).
Boat Ride/Sea of Galilee
Our last experience was a boat ride on the Sea of Galilee. First, we saw a restored 1st century wooden boat found here in 1986. We then “sailed” on the lake, enjoying some worship and reflection. We read the storm narratives from Mark 4 and Matthew 14. Upon returning to the shoreline, we celebrated the baptism of John, Angelo, and Dave. Following this we enjoyed dinner together and another optional gathering down at the lakefront.
What a great day of walking in the footsteps of Jesus!