DAY 5 – FRIDAY, MARCH 17:
Today was a day around the Sea of Galilee, called Kinneret in Hebrew. The temps warmed to the high 60s, with partly sunny to overcast skies.
Leaving the hotel at 7:40, Mt. Arbel was our first stop. 17 in the group hiked the trail (about a 800 foot ascent), while the rest of the groups approached the top by bus and a short walk. Although a little hazy, the view from on top was spectacular. We all could imagine Jesus on top here as well.
Driving back down through Tiberias, Magdala was our next site. This served as the home of Mary Magdalene. Among the ruins, we saw a 1st century synagogue here (one of only seven in Israel). Jesus no doubt would have taught from here! We also enjoyed singing in the newly-built chapel. The acoustics were amazing!
From here we drove to the southern end of the Sea of Galilee to a place called Yardenit. Here, 15 in the group re-affirmed their faith in Christ by being baptized in the Jordan River. Although the water was “cool,” it was a special time for all!
Following lunch (St. Peter’s fish), we drove to the NW corner of the lake to Chorazim. This was one of three cities condemned by Jesus. Here we saw a 3d century synagogue and a replica of the “Moses Seat” found here. We read from Matthew 23.
Down below on the shoreline was Capernaum, the “home base” city for Jesus’ ministry. Sitting in the 5th century synagogue (most likely, the 1st century synagogue Jesus knew was below), we read from Mark 1, 2, 9; Luke7; and John 6. All of these stories took place here. We also saw a 5th century Byzantine Church here. We enjoyed a quiet moment also on the shoreline as we remembered that the disciples were called by Jesus here (Mt. 4).
At Nof Ginnosar we saw the “Jesus Boat,” a 1st century wooden boat found here in 1986. This visit was followed by our own boat ride out on the lake. On the very calm waters we read from Mark 4 and Matthew 14. Praise God that we can cast all our cares upon Him, for He cares for us through the “waves and storms” of life! On the boat we also enjoyed a time of worship.
We ended the day on the Mt. of Beatitudes. As the sun was setting, we reflectively read from Matthew 5 (in Hebrew and English) and considered these kingdom principles for our own lives.
Returning to our hotels, we enjoyed dinner together. We returned to our rooms, packing our bags for check-out tomorrow as we leave in the morning for Jordan!
DAY 6 – SATURDAY, MARCH 18: JORDAN NORTHERN BORDER CROSSING, JERASH, MT. NEBO, MEDEBA, PETRA