DAY 9 – TUESDAY, JANUARY 24: OPTIONAL SUNRISE HIKE TO “HILL 713, ” ARBEL, MT. OF BEATITUDES
Today was our “reflection” day and it was a fabulous one in many ways. The sun was bright once again, with temps in the 70s. We only visited a few sites, with a slower pace. Following a late breakfast, we left the hotel at 9:30. We read a few of the kingdom parables from Matthew 13 as we began.
Optional Hike to “Hill 713” (Har Mitzpe ha-Yamim)
Well before sunrise, 32 of us left the hotel at 5:05 to drive north into the Upper Galilee. We enjoyed a 30 minute hike to “Hill 713” (or Har Mitzpe ha-Yamim in Hebrew). This is a trail that leads to a stunning overlook! We made in plenty of time before the sunrise. We could see literally across the width of the country, from the the Golan Heights to the east to the Carmel Range and Haifa to the west (beyond which is the Med Sea!). Looking south we could see Mt. Tabor, Hill of Moreh, and Mt. Gilboa. It was a special optional experience! We spent time in silent reflection and worship as the sun rose to there east over the Golan Heights. We returned to the hotel at 8 a.m. for breakfast.
At 9:30 the entire group of 64 left the hotel and headed to the trailhead of Mt. Arbel. Many in the group hiked to the top, while others bussed around to the other side and ascended to the top from there. The view was stunning! While we cannot be sure, perhaps this was where the Jesus’ Transfiguration took place (Mt. 17), or where he taught the Sermon on the Mount (Mt. 5-7) or where He met His disciples following His resurrection (Mt. 28). We intentionally spent some solitary time here reading Matthew 5-7 on our own before we walked back down to the busses.
“What a fantastic day it was here in the Galilee. We hiked on a high hill in the Upper Galilee and saw an incredible sunrise, hiked the cliff of Arbel, and pondered the Sermon on the Mount on the Mt. of Beatitudes. And with perfect weather too! Doesn’t get any better than this!”
Mt. of Beatitudes
After a more simple lunch (falafel and shawarma), we drove to the traditional Mt. of Beatitudes (since our usual place is now blocked off with a high fence and gate). Sitting on the side of the hill, we heard Shlomo read Beatitudes in Hebrew. We visited the chapel (designed by the Italian Antonio Barluzzi in the 1930s) and the grounds before loading back on the buses. Some in the group walked down the path to the lakeshore.
We ended the day early, allowing us some free time before dinner. Some even went swimming in the Sea of Galilee. It has been a great three full days here in the north!