DAY 6: SATURDAY, JULY 13
It was another beautiful day here in the Galilee. We began the day by visiting Arbel, the mountain/cliff that overlooks the NW corner of the lake below. About a third of the group left at 7 a.m. in order to climb to the top. The trail winds around the cliff until it ascends the top cliff part to the top. The rest of the group approached Arbel from the other side, hiking the last part of it to the top. What a great view! Leaving Arbel, we headed to the north once again into the Golan Heights. On the way, we stopped at Magdala. We were able to actually walk out to the current excavation and stand in the 1st century synagogue recently discovered here (only one of seven found in Israel). It was thrilling to consider that perhaps Jesus Himself once stood and taught in this synagogue! Leaving Magdala, our drove to Qatzrin, a Talmudic village from the 3-5th centuries located in the eastern Golan Heights. Here we saw a reconstructed house that must have been similar to the house mentioned in Mark 2, the story of the lame man being lowered through the roof to Jesus. We drove further north for lunch in a Druze village.
Following lunch, we headed to Bental, an old military site located on the top of an extinct volcano. From here we looked into southern Syria, specifically into the town of Kuneitra. Shlomo shared with us the strategic importance of the Golan Heights to Israel’s security on this northern border. We walked through old trenches and bunkers.
We returned to the southern end of the Sea of Galilee for our baptismal service, stopping along the way for a panoramic view of the Sea of Galilee from this eastern side. A few actually saw a wild boar from this overview called the Shalom Vista. Arriving at Yardenit, 16 were baptized in the Jordan River. It was a special time for all.
Before we returned to our hotel, we made one last stop at the Kinneret Cemetery. Here we heard the story of Rachel, an early pioneer from the Ukraine. The evening was an enjoyable one, with swimming and a casual dinner together.
We all are looking forward to arrive in Jerusalem tomorrow night!