DAY 5 – WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 7: ARBEL, JORDAN RIVER BAPTISM, MAGDALA, CAPERNAUM, MT. of BEATITUDES, SEA OF GALILEE BOAT RIDE, BEACH REFLECTION
Today our focus was on the life and ministry of Jesus! Site after site we could see Him teach and heal in some places, serve and calm the water in others, and lead His disciples everywhere! It was a perfect weather day too, with sunny skies and highs in the mid 70s.
Leaving at 7:20 after another great breakfast we drove to the trailhead of the cliffs of Arbel. We read Matthew 13 on the way. About 40 in the group hiked to the top of this mountain, about a 800 foot ascent. Others bussed around to the other side and walked to the top from the visitor center. The view of the Sea of Galilee below was wonderful!
Yardenit/Jordan River Baptism
Driving to the southern end of the lake we arrived at Yardenit. Here about 65 renewed their faith in the waters of the Jordan River. It was a special time for all, and we were the only group there (unlike other sites throughout the day).
“My favorite part of today was twofold: Hearing Shlomo read Matthew 5 in Hebrew as Jesus would have spoken, and the boat ride on the Sea of Galilee. As we heard the two storm narratives read, and as we learned how quickly storms can come here, I am so glad for Jesus’ words, ‘Peace, be still!’ – Tour Member-
Driving back north through Tiberias, we arrived at Magdala. Located on the NW corner of the lake, this city served as the home of Mary Magdalene. Here we saw a 1st century synagogue, only one of about seven that date to the time of Jesus. It made an impression on all of us just to think that Jesus most likely taught from inside the synagogue! This also was the town that Jesus sailed back to after the Feeding of the 4,000 miracle on the SE corner of the lake (Matthew 15).
Following a traditional “St. Peter’s fish” lunch, we drove to Capernaum. Located on the shoreline and main travel route, this city (the “village of Nahum”) served as the main city in this region. Jesus served this city in many ways. He healed (Mark 1, 2; Luke 7,8) and He taught (Mark 9, John 6). He demonstrated His authority in many ways! Reading all these passages inside the 5th century synagogue was special. We also spent some quiet time sitting on the lakeshore, recalling that Jesus called many of His disciples here (Peter, Andrew, James, John, and Matthew/Levi, Matthew 4).
Mt. of Beatitudes
Up the hill from Capernaum is the Mt. of Beatitudes. Sitting on the rocks overlooking a natural amphitheater, we heard the first part of Matthew 5 read in both Hebrew (by Shlomo) and then English. These kingdom principles are meant to guide us in our walk of faith with Christ. We even took a group photo from a drone! 🙂
Boat Ride/Beach Gathering
We finished the day with a boat ride on the Sea of Galilee. With two boats tied together, we enjoyed a tie of worship and reflection. We read form Mark 4 and Matthew 14 about the two storm narratives. Jesus still calms the storms of our lives too! The sunset over Arbel was also spectacular! After leaving the boat we enjoyed a time of sharing on the beach. It was fun to hear peoples’ highlight experiences so far in the tour.
We returned to our hotel for dinner and a free night.