We are back from the day (long) of touring. Exhausted, of course. But, I’ve already rested some and uploaded pictures – and showered, of course. I set dinner a bit later tonight (to hopefully avoid some crowds – to rest up a bit – and to allow for time to swim in the Sea of Galilee or the pool). I just did the rest part.
We started the day a bit earlier than normal – a 7:40 departure because we had as our first item our ride on the Jesus Boat. We took it from Tiberius to Nof Ginosaur. It is quite calm in the morning on the lake, so that is nice. We learned some things about the lake. Got a lesson in net fishing. Raised the American flag, of course. And by special request, we heard the Israeli national anthem. We had a devotional on the water and then…. And then one of the crew taught us all to do a Jewish folk dance. Someone had to capture the moment on video (me) – so I could stand back. It was fun.
We were on the water about an hour, then docked at the kibbutz. Even by 9 am, it was pretty warm outside and so the air conditioning inside the visitor center/gift shop for The Jesus Boat was refreshing. We mis-timed some things – but ended up seeing the movie about how the boat was recovered during a time of drought in the Sea of Galilee. It is an interesting story. We saw the boat – and tried to refrain (unsuccessfully) from the shopping thing. But this group isn’t too bad at all.
Back on the bus for a ride up to Korazin. The city of black basalt stone which rises above the Sea of Galilee. It’s an interesting site with the mikveh and synagogue – all made of the local black basalt stone.
Back on the bus and off to the Mount of the Beatitudes. It was crowded. We didn’t get a great spot for the explanation and reading of the text, so that was disappointing. We had a few minutes to stroll around…but the place was quite full of tourists.
Back on the bus and off to Tabgha (not my favorite). Lots of buses again. And, hey, it’s just a church. A nice one, but a church. People are everywhere – tourist season is picking up. And my personal opinion is that some wanted to travel before the holy days begin in just a couple of weeks. But, that’s just my interpretation.
Back on the bus (them of the day, I think) and on to Capernaum. The goal was to squeeze in Capernaum before lunch (we were successful) so that we could add Mt. Arbel in the afternoon – so on Monday we could head straight down south and arrive a bit early to the Dead Sea….for a swim. So far, so good.
Capernaum was crowded (but not too terribly bad). We saw the house of Peter’s mother-in-law, the synagogue, stuff like that. Had an explanation and devotional under the large tree just outside the synagogue. Some of us headed to the lake to catch one more glance.
Back on the bus for lunch. That’s sort of what this day in the ministry triangle of Jesus is all about. Visiting as many of the cities and sites as possible and yet reflecting on the importance of each site. That’s a tricky balance to maintain.
Lunch was St. Peter’s fish (of course). I opted for the lamb kabob (ground lamb, actually). It was delicious and a good choice for me. I heard the chicken steak option was a hit too. It’s always a bit crazy in those places, but the food I had was good.
The afternoon time was divided between the overlook of Mt. Arbel (and the drive up there) and Magdala. We ate right next to Magdala, but headed to Arbel first because it has a fixed and rigid closing time. So it is better to head that direction leaving more flexibility for the Magdala visit.
It was nice to sit a bit as we drove up to Mt. Arbel. The AC on the bus is not great, though, and it is probably over 100 outside. I had my first Magnum bar (the amazing white chocolate variety) at the snack shop at Arbel. Patti Belk tempted me – and I succumbed. It was just the perfect snack to propel us up the path to the view.
We had a nice time at the viewpoint. It was a bit breezy which helped break up the humidity and heat. It’s really not unbearable – but we do sweat a bit. We saw again the sweep of biblical history which unfolded down below. We had a devotional and then meandered back down the path to the bus.
Off to Migdal – the home of Mary Magdalene (Mary of Migdal). It’s a rather recent addition to the options in Galilee. What is most compelling about the ruins is the presence of a confirmed first century synagogue. That’s pretty amazing. The synagogue in Capernaum is fourth century – built on what seems to be an early (probably first century) synagogue.
But this one on Migdal has never been replaced – nothing was ever built on top of it. So that makes is special. And we know from the New Testament that Jesus preached all over in the synagogues of the Galilee – so He had preached and visited Magdala. Amazing. We did a quick jaunt down to the modern church more along the shoreline. It is beautiful and the art and view worth the walk.
We got back to the hotel about 5 pm after all of that. Dinner is soon – so I’d best make sure I’m ready. Shabbat Shalom for now. The Sabbath has officially ended now, I think.
Dinner is done. I highly recommend the roast beef. It was the best of the bunch tonight. The turkey was way too dry, even with gravy. The rest was just ok. Even desserts. But we had a great meal and even better conversation. And then a stroll by the Sea of Galilee with a full moon rising over the Golan Heights. Wow. A balmy (I say HOT) evening. It’s time to call it a day I do believe.
We head north in the morning – Hazor. Tel Dan. Caesarea Philippi. Golan. I think an interesting day.