Sunday, February 16, 2014

A Day Of Emotions

I believe there is a consensus that the group likes the Scots Hotel.  Once a hospital that treated both Jews and Arabs, it is run today by a group from Scotland and is one of the best hotels in the country.  We began our day by walking, not riding.  We traveled a few blocks down to the docks to embark on a ride on the Sea of Galilee.  The calm water made us question how such a storm could happen that would swamp a boat.  But Nir told a story how the sea changed in a matter of minutes when he was out there one time.  We read from the Scriptures, sang, and prayed.  From here we would see the geography of the majority of Jesus' ministry.  Capernaum directly north; Bethsaida to the north and east across the Jordan River; the Mount of Beatitudes; Migdal, the home of Mary Magdalene.  Kursi, where the demoniac was set free was to our east.  It all happened right in front of us.  It was a moment for quiet reflection.

We visited the ancient boat at Ginosar that was found in the 1980's.  It dated to the first century and gave us insight into the fishing boats Peter and Andrew, James and John were using.  It was then on to the Mount of Beatitudes.  This was were Jesus preached the Sermon on the Mount and fed the 5000.  After reading the Scriptures and making a few comments, we spent time alone meditating and taking in the place.  It was humbling and stirred our souls.  

We then made our way to Korazim, one of the three cursed cities.  Jesus served as a traveling Rabbi to Korazim, Capernaum and Bethsaida.  He did many miracles in these cities. But because they failed to repent He cursed them and all three are simply piles of rock today.  The dark, volcanic basalt rock was definitely different than the limestone we have seen other places.

Tabgha was next.  The place on the shore where Jesus made breakfast for the disciples after He resurrected and they went fishing.  It was here that Jesus also addressed Peter by asking him three times, "Peter, do you love me?"  

Capernaum was the headquarters for Jesus' ministry.  He taught often here.  He healed Peter's mother-in-law here.  He stayed here most of the three years He did His ministry.  We saw the remnants of what is thought to be Peter's home underneath the Catholic chapel built overtop of it.  We sat in the synagogue.  We then were shown two columns that were very special.  One spoke of a family by the name of Zebedee, with a son John.  Names were repeated in families and it is likely this proves that this was the same family as the sons of Zebedee in the Bible.  The other column was carved with a 7 candle menorah.  It showed this was a Jewish town at one time.

We ended our day with 18 people being baptized.  It was a moving experience as we sang Amazing Grace before and the Doxology afterwards. A short stop to visit a kibbutz that makes products from dates, including seeing a movie about its history and it was back to the Scots for another wonderful meal.

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