DAY 5 – FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 23
Today was a day spent around the Sea of Galilee. The weather was sunny and a little cooler, with highs in the 80s. We even got a brief rain shower, the first “rain” since April. But it only lasted about 3 minutes.
Our first site was Mt. Arbel. This is a high mountain on the NW corner of the lake that stands about 800 feet above the Plain of Genesseret. A few hiked to the top, while others approached the mountain with a bus from the other side. The view from the top was spectacular, with good visibility. We remembered the kingdom parables (Matthew 13-14), and wondered how many times Jesus spent time up here with His disciples.
Driving back down through Tiberias, we visited Magdala. Here we saw another 1st century synagogue, as well as other ruins from Jesus’ day. Even though not mentioned specifically by name, Jesus must have taught in this synagogue. We also enjoyed the new chapel built on the grounds as well as the singing in the rotunda.
Chorazim was our next stop. Located off the water about a mile, this city was one of three condemned by Jesus (along with Bethsaida and Capernaum). We read from Matthew 23 from within the 3rd century AD synagogue here.
Capernaum was our last stop before lunch. This was the “home base” of ministry for Jesus in the Galilee. We read from Mark 1,2, and 9, Luke 7, and John 6 about all the ministry Jesus did here. We saw the 5th century AD synagogue (built on the foundations of the 1st century one), the 4-5 century AD church, and the traditional house of Peter. We also spent some reflective time sitting on the water’s edge, for it was here where Jesus called His first disciples.
Following a great lunch, we drove to the southern end of the lake to the baptismal place called Yardenit. 16 rededicated themselves in the Jordan River, while 2 were baptized for the first time. It was a special time for all. We even met Gov. and once Presidential candidate Pastor Mike Huckabee here.
Driving back to Nof Ginnosar, we saw the ancient 1st century boat discovered here in 1986. Here we also walked to our own boat for sailing in the lake. We enjoyed a time of worship and reflection. We considered the storm narratives of Mark 4 and Matthew 14, and rejoiced together that Jesus cares for us, offering us His peace and rest.
Our last experience of the day was on top of the Mt. of Beatitudes. We listened to the reading of Matthew 5 in both Hebrew and English. We considered these kingdom principles for our own lives as we enjoyed the scenery. Some walked down the path that led down towards the water’s edge.
Driving back to our hotel, we enjoyed dinner together, followed by an optional gathering on the shoreline. It was a great day of focusing on the life and ministry of our Savior!
DAY 6 – SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 24: RACHEL’S GRAVE, JORDAN NORTHERN BORDER CROSSING, JERASH, MT. NEBO, MEDEBA, PETRA