Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Israel Trip, Part 2

Day 2 of our tour of Israel consisted of more sites around the Sea of Galilee!

First up, a boat ride across the sea itself!

Part of our tour group ready to enjoy the ride!  Notice that while there is sunshine for the moment, rain clouds lurk in the background...

Sometimes the lake looked green...
...sometimes, it looked blue.
(That is the city of Tiberias on the far shore.)

While on our journey across the lake, a rain storm blew over us (a very common experience on this body of water due to its unique location between the Golan Heights and various other mountain/hill peaks).  Even though it wasn't a very big storm, it was enough to cause 2-3 foot swells in the waves which then splashed over the sides of the boat.  Everyone tried to find a place to keep dry, but such places were very limited!

As we were chugging our way through the turbulent water, being tossed to and fro to a degree, I couldn't help but think of Jesus' disciples and the kind of boats they would have used for fishing 2000 years ago.  Theirs were much smaller than ours, powered by oars and not an engine.  No wonder they were scared out of their wits when a storm came upon them and Jesus was asleep in the boat!  Those waves were likely engulfing their entire fishing vessel as they were tossed like a little cork in the midst of it all.  Yes, I think I would have been scared too!  It certainly would have been a miserable experiencing trying to maintain control of the boat in such a tempest...especially "in the evening," as the Scripture passage says, when visibility would have been extremely limited due to darkness.  And then to think, Jesus just stood up, calmed the storm, and immediately all was at peace again...

See what I mean about the Bible coming alive because of experiences like these? :)

Here is a picture looking back over the lake after we reached the other side.  You can see how the rain storms are isolated to certain areas of the water.  It's really unique how the weather operates here!

After embarking on land, our group toured a little museum area that houses a restored boat from Jesus' era, but I didn't find it interesting enough to take pictures of! ;)

Our next stop was the Biblical sit of Capernaum, the town where Jesus made His home after being rejected in Nazareth.  Capernaum was right on the banks of the Sea of Galilee and was also the home town of the Apostle Peter.  Capernaum is no longer an inhabited town, but the ruins here were very interesting to see.  In the above picture are ruins that once made up the walls of homes in the main residential area.

The Synagogue

While much of the original stone work was destroyed and rebuilt a couple hundred years after Jesus, those dark gray stones on the bottom layer were original to the time of Jesus' day.

What is believed to be Peter's house sits under a Catholic church that was built to commemorate the site.

Here we are after a hike down the Mount of the Beatitudes overlooking the Sea of Galilee.

Another mountain we visited that day is called Mount Arbel.  Many people believe it was the location where Jesus was transfigured and possibly from which he ascended into heaven.  Of course, that is just speculation.  Regardless, it was a well-known mountain peak in His day and a likely spot where He could have been at one time.  The panoramic views were amazing!

Our final stop for the day was a famous baptismal site along the Jordan River.  Everything about this site was beautiful!  The palm trees...

the flowers...

...and of course, the river itself.

(You can see people being baptized in a roped off area on the left-hand side.  Unfortunately, it's become a commercialized site where many people get baptized by some random employee there regardless of their true understanding of salvation.  Some just want the experience of being dipped at a "holy" site.  You can even buy the "holy" water in bottles at the gift shop for a souvenir.)

Did you know Israel was this pretty?

Meanwhile, back at the cabin...I decided to try out our new "dinner bell." :)

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