Israel Travel Journal, Day 7

Church @ Mount of Beatitudes

This was our first full day in Galilee.

We spent the day around the coast of the Sea of Galilee where Jesus did most of His ministry.  We started at the Cliffs of Arbel, where historical battles had taken place and through which winds the trail from Nazareth to the Sea of Galilee, a trail Jesus no doubt walked.

As always, though, we were not there to worship a place, kiss the ground, or collect soil for reliquaries, but to understand the place so that we could better understand the Bible.

From there we drove to the Mount of Beatitudes (of Sermon on the Mount fame) (Matthew 5).

It’s a large hill more than it is a mountain, and there is a church on it now. One could see how Jesus, standing on the hill could have spoke to a very large crowd without the use of any amplification.

After that we took a boat ride on the Sea of Galilee and then went to the place on the shore of the Sea of Galilee where Jesus appeared to the disciples after His resurrection and told them to cast their nets on the other side of the boat. (John 21). I

It’s hard to describe what I felt in these places where Jesus walked. It wasn’t mystical. It was almost the opposite. There was a sense of reality and earthiness about it. Being here forces one to cast off one’s ideas about how things must have looked and replace those ideas with a single reality. It is that reality that will forever abide in my mind’s eye when I read about these places in the Bible.

Capernaum

We ended our day out at Capernaum, which was Jesus’ home base in this area.  We viisted the house of Peter’s mother-in-law (Matthew 8:14-17), the synagogue where Jesus taught and the small dock where Jesus and His disciples would have entered their boat.

Capernaum is remarkably well-preserved in part because nothing was ever built on top of it. (You may recall Jesus cursed Capernaum. See Luke 10:13-15).  Capernaum, for me, was a highlight of the trip thus far. To be able to visualize this place while reading the Gospels is priceless.

Until tomorrow. GS