IMG_0181What a great day of focusing upon the life and ministry of Christ.  Leaving the hotel at 7:45, our first stop was Mt. Arbel.  The option to climb the cliff trail was enjoyed by 12 in the group, while the others enjoyed bussing around to the northwest approach to the top.  Along the way, we observed Arab farmers harvesting their olive crop.  Arriving to the top together, we marveled at the view of almost the entire Sea of Galilee (‘Kinneret” in Hebrew) 800 feet below.

Driving back through Tiberias, our next stop was an extra site added to the program, Magdala.  Here, we saw a First Century synagogue no doubt visited by Jesus (although not mentioned specifically in the Gospels).  This was the home of Mary Magdalene.  Further up this NW corner of the lake was Chorazim, one of the three cities “condemned” by Jesus.  Here we visited a 3rd century synagogue, complete with  replica of a “Moses seat” found here (Mt. 23).

IMG_0219Nearby was Capernaum, the hometown of Jesus.  Ruins dating to the 1st century are here, although the synagogue dates to the 5th century AD.  We read Mark, Luke and John, all stories that took place here.  Jesus displayed his s’mekah (authority) here.  Following our visit here, we visited the “Jesus boat” (found in 1986) at Nof Ginnosar.

Following lunch we drove to the southern point of the lake to Yardenit, the baptismal site.  About half the group reaffirmed their faith in Christ in the waters of the Jordan River.  It was a special time for all.  Close by we visited the Kinneret Cemetery where the famous “Rachel,” an early Jewish pioneer of the land from Ukraine, is buried.

IMG_0286We ended the day with a wonderful boat ride on the lake and a visit to the Mt of Beatitudes.  On the boat we enjoyed a time of worship, quiet reflection, and fellowship.  On the Galilean hillside, this is where Jesus preached his first sermon (The “Sermon on the Mount”).  We then walked down the path on the shoreline of the lake.  It was a special way to end a wonderful day!

We returned to the hotel for dinner and an optional gathering out by the lake as the moon rose from the east.

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