Day 6 - The Sea of Galilee

This day was one of my favorites. We began the day with a boat ride on the Sea of Galilee. It was raining a bit as we arrived, but cleared off during our boat ride. This was a worship boat, so in addition to sharing with us a bit of history about fishing on the sea, the captain also led us in worship.

The area around the dock had been well planned, with mosaic benches and various sculptures.

As we left the area, the rain began again. Forest mentioned that one group he brought got stuck on the boat during a storm. I was thankful that God wanted us to experience the peace of the Sea of Galilee rather than the fearsomeness.

Our next stop was not too far down the road at the Mount of Beatitudes. It was raining quite a bit, so after paying the entrance fee, we headed over to a covered pavilion. Dr. Michelson led us in a time of communion. The rain helped create a subdued, reflective atmosphere. Dr. Michelson focused on the beauty of this site, which was covered with palm trees, flowers, and even rows of banana trees. He told us that the juice and the bread are reminders of the faithful abundance of God, just is the mountain where we were seated, being covered by rain. During the miracle of the loaves and fishes, Jesus told His disciples, "Don't buy something--give them something to eat." Both this miracle and communion share the act of taking, giving, and eating, and redeem this act that was corrupted in the Garden of Eden when Eve took the fruit, gave some to Adam and they both ate it. Through this ceremony, Dr. Michelson led us to focus on God's abundance and His acts of redemption.

And then the rain stopped. It really was a beautiful area, and included a chapel, monastery, and gardens.

Our next stops were all quite close together. We probably could've walked it quite easily, if we weren't on a time schedule. We stopped at the church at Tabgha that commemorates the miracle of the Loaves and Fishes. The rock under the altar is said to be the rock on which Jesus performed the miracle.

Our next stop was called Peter's Primacy.This memorializes the site of the events in John 21, when Jesus reappeared to the disciples who are fishing after his death, and questioned Peter. We were able to get on the shore of the lake here.

I am looking ahead through my pictures to see how much is left for this day--it is crazy. Two more areas left. The next site was just up the road. It was the ruins of the city of Capernaum, including the synagogue.

At this point it was about 1 or 2 in the afternoon and we still hadn't eaten lunch. We had the option to eat at a local place or wait until we crossed back through Jericho on the way to Jerusalem. Several of us brought food with us, and others of us didn't want to pay the expense for the meal nearby, so we got back on the road.
When we got to Jericho, I didn't eat but did buy more snacks for the days ahead, including some almond bars made with honey, three tangerines that must have been free, and a jar of date honey to take home. And some sycamore nuts that I also brought home.

We drove into Jerusalem in the late afternoon and it was starting to get quite cold, especially up where we were, on the Mount of Olives overlooking the old city. We spent some time walking through some of the various chapels (there were several) and ended up at the Garden of Gethsemane. There we visited the Garden as well as the Church of All Nations.

After this, we crossed into Bethlehem, checked in to our hotel, and prepared for dinner. This hotel, the Sancta Maria, was closer to stores than our other hotels, so it was much easier to get out a night. If you weren't too exhausted to do so.