Saturday February 14 - The Galilee

Saturday February 14 - The Galilee
Happy Valentine's Day everyone!
Our clothes and shoes had been spread out drying and were ready for a new day.
The weather was improved today. We found out from local people that the sand storm we experienced the first day was the worst in 14 years, and Wisam says he's never seen conditions like we had on the highway after the hail storms. We really have experienced some extreme weather for this area.
This morning we started at the Mount of Beatitudes. It is a lovely park setting with a beautiful octagonal church.
 High on each of the interior walls is one of the Beatitudes in two languages. David S. read the Sermon on the Mount from Matthew and led in prayer, followed by singing. It was very emotional for all of us to be at this lovely, holy place and hear the words Jesus spoke here.

When we boarded one of the boats that plies the Sea of Galilee, a crew member raised the American flag and they played The Star-Spangled Banner while the group sang it lustily. It was a surprising and moving gesture, and much appreciated. [A few people mentioned that they thought there should have been a Canadian flag and O Canada for us, but we were OK without it.]
 Then, as we moved out onto the water and cruised around for an hour or so, they played some favourite praise music. They stopped the boat in the centre of the Sea to give us quiet for a devotion.  The views from the water are amazing and Wisam pointed out the sites around the shoreline. The weather cooperated fully, so we had a smooth sailing and good view.

 Near the dock we were able to visit a museum holding an ancient boat that would have been on the lake in Jesus' time. The story of its discovery, recovery and preservation is fascinating.

 The Church of the Multiplication of Bread at Tabgha was next, and we took in beautiful mosaics in a lovely church. We discussed the story of the loaves and fishes and Wisam offered insights into possible explanations for some points in the story.


 A very short bus ride took us to the Church of the Primacy, thought to be situated where Jesus appeared to the disciples after the Resurrection and shared breakfast with them. He commissioned Peter as the leader at that meeting. Mike and Jan read the scripture from John, and we all walked to the shore.

Driving across the Jordan we were in Israeli-occupied territory that previously belonged to Syria. This area was where Jesus drove the demons out of a possessed man and into a herd of pigs. Pastor David read the story and Wisam pointed out the cliff off which they hurled themselves.

 We had lunch at Kibbutz Ein Ged, right on the edge of the Sea and enjoyed a stroll along the water's edge.
At Capurnaum, a large area of the town has been excavated. Most exciting is Peter's house, where Jesus lived after he withdrew from Nazareth, with the ruins of an octagonal church above it. Floating over that area is the modern church that somewhat resembles a spaceship. The synagogue there dates from the 3rd or 4th century but gave us a clear idea of what kind of place Jesus would have worshiped and preached in.

Our final activity of the day was a walk a short way up the Valley of the Winds, in Arbel Park. Jesus would have walked through this valley from Nazareth to Capurnaum, about a 2-day journey. High on the cliffs are caves in which Jews lived during the time of the Romans.
We were all tired by the time we got back to the hotel and ready for dinner, packing up and bed.

Link to All Photos for February 14