We began our day at the the Mount of Beatitudes, where there is a lovely convent and church. Rene taught us from the Beatitudes, and we had time to wander and pray.
From there we traveled to Capernaum, where Jesus lived for several years. A Church has been constructed over what are believed to be the ruins of the apostle Peter’s mother-in-law’s home. Most interesting to me was the detail of God’s plan. Capernaum was on a major highway, a route that anyone traveling between five countries had to travel. Nothing of God is simply chance.
Nearby, we walked onto the shores of the Sea of Galilee and imagined Jesus calling some of his disciples.
Boarding a boat in the sunshine, we left one shore. About halfway across the Galilee we hit a sudden squall which included slamming rain, which stopped before we docked on the opposite shore. We sang along to wonderful Jesus songs from the 70s and 80s, were taught the Hava Nagila dance (“Let us rejoice”), and laughed at our missteps. It was amazing to be part of the same kind of weather Jesus and the disciples faced in their day.
We next stopped on the Jordan river which had about eight areas set aside for baptism. Those wishing to be baptized changed into their swimsuits and covered them with provided white gowns. Folks must not have realized how transparent these white gowns were when wet … some who didn’t have anythong on underneath might have been quite surprised that nothing was hidden! Fortunately, our folks all had swimsuits. Two of our group were first-time baptisms, the others seven wanted to recommit and to be baptized where Jesus was.
Afterward, I heard groups praising God in different languages. Tears came to my eyes as I heard Asians singing on one side, Africans on another. The unity I felt with these brothers and sisters in Christ brought joy to my heart and tears to my eyes. As the church, we are one in Christ. What will heaven be like?
Wonderful day in every possible way. Time for bed.
Wednesday – Dan Nature Preserve, city of Dan under the rule of Jeroboam, and the gates of Canaan, the oldest known gate being excavated. This is the gate Abraham would have walked thru to find his nephew, Lot.
Then on to the Baniass Nature Preserve and spring, site of the Temple of Pan, source of the words panic and pandemonium. How appropriate that worship of this, or any false god, brings pandemonium.
We wandered the fortifications at the Golan Heights, 4500 feet above sea level, from which we saw Syria and Lebanon. Had some wonderful mocha coffee to warm our hands and innards … The remaining snow and a hefty wind kept it chillingly cold!!!
I’m amazed at the topography in Galilee. Beautiful, green, fertile; almond, orange and lemon trees in abundance, along with banana and date palms. The green hills are absolutely spotted with rocks. The Israelis have brought wonderful productivity to a rocky land.