Day 8 – Monday, June 20: Arbel, Jordan River (Yardenit), Magdala, Capernaum, Mt. of Beatitudes, Boat Ride


Today we spent the entire day around the Sea of Galilee. Our focus was the life and ministry of Jesus. The weather was sunny and warm, with highs in the low 90s. We read from Matthew 13 as we left the hotel at 7:40.



Our first stop was Mt. Arbel. While it is not specifically mentioned in the Bible, it very well could have been the location for the Sermon on the Mount and the “high mountain” where Jesus met His disciples after His resurrection in Jerusalem (Matthew 28). Ten in the group hiked up the cliff trail, while the rest in the group drove around and approached the top from the west. The visibility to the Plain of Genesseret, Magdala, Capernaum, “Hill 713” (in the Upper Galilee), and across to the eastern side.


Yardenit/Jordan River Baptism

From Arbel we drove to the southern end of the lake to where the Lower Jordan River begins. Here, about 20 people reaffirmed their faith in Christ by being submersed in the waters of the river in a place called Yardenit. The water was clear and mild and our hearts were warmed by the experience!


Kinneret Cemetery

Located on the SW corner of the lake is the Kinneret Cemetery. Many early Jewish pioneers to the land are buried here. This includes an Ukraine Jew named Rachel. She wrote many poems that are read by Israelis today. Shlomo shared (through both word and song). She died in 1931.



We traveled back north through Tiberias to the 1st century site of Magdala. Although only mentioned once in the Gospels (Matthew 16), this Jewish city in Jesus’ day was large in size. Here was saw a small/modest 1st century synagogue large enough to only hold about 50-60 people at most. In recent excavations, archaeologists believe they found a second 1st century synagogue here.



Following a wonderful St. Peter’s Fish lunch, we continued to the NW corner of the lake and to the site of Capernaum. This coastline city served as Jesus’ ‘home base’ for His Galilean ministry. Inside the 5th century AD synagogue (with the 1st century one below at a lower level), we read from Mark 1, 2, 9; Luke 7, and John 4, 6. We passed by the octagonal Byzantine church (inside is a 1st century house structure deemed by some as possibly being Peter’s house) to the Sea of Galilee where we read from Matthew 4 and Mark 9. Jesus called the four fishermen along this shoreline. We are called to serve humbly in the kingdom.

“Today included a focus upon Jesus! We spent the entire day in the Sea of Galilee area. Starting with a great view from Arbel and concluding the  day with a boat ride, and everything in between was amazing!”
Arbel June 2022 Israel Tour John DeLancey
Mt. of Beatitudes

Up on there hill overlooking Capernaum is the traditional Mt. of Beatitudes. We walked up a small hill and tried a nice location under a tree where we heard part of Matthew 5 read in both Hebrew and English. On top of the larger hill is the traditional location of this event marked by a chapel built in 1938.


Boat Ride/Ancient Boat

Our last experience of the day was seeing the 1st century wooden boat found here in 1986 when the water level was low. It was amazing to picture Jesus in a boat like this!  From this museum we walked to our own boat ride on the lake. We enjoyed a time of worship and reflection as we could see in all directions the shoreline of the Sea of Galilee. We read from Mark 4 and Matthew 14. Jesus calmed the storm twice.

We walked back to our hotel from here and enjoyed dinner and a free evening together. Some enjoyed swimming in the lake before dinner.


Day 9 – Tuesday, June 21: Precipice of Nazareth, Megiddo, Jezreel, Caesarea, Jerusalem

Arbel Hike June 2022 Israel Tour John DeLancey
Magdala June 2022 Israel Tour John DeLancey
Rachel Poet June 2022 Israel Tour John DeLancey
Sea of Galilee June 2022 Israel Tour John DeLancey

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