A Boat Ride
We started today by seeing what is called “Jesus’ Boat.” It was found on the shores of the Sea of Galilee during a very dry year. It dates back to around 35 AD and is very similar to the type of boat Jesus’ disciples would have used for fishing. Archeologists theorize that the man who owned the boat built it himself and it ended up leaking.
After seeing the boat, we went on a boat ride ourselves on the Sea where we had worship led by an Israeli. It was an amazing experience. Seeing Jesus’ world from the point of view of his disciples as I imagined what it would have been like to look up at the shore line and see a man calling me to follow him.
I do have to say that the Israelis are a people of remarkable faith and blessing. Our tour guide, Ronnie, told us about how the Israelis have been trying to solve their problem of having enough drinking water. He said they finally decided, “Why don’t we just ask the Lord.” So they prayed for rain and he gave them a raining season like no other. Then they prayed to him asking for it to stop because they then had too much and it ended. What a remarkable people of faith and God of blessings!
Church of Beatitudes
We then traveled to the Church of Beatitudes which “marks” the place that the Sermon on the Mount took place. The actual location is a little farther down the hill than the church closer to the sea. It is a gorgeous church and garden. You could hear people of all different languages singing praises and prayers up to the Lord. As one of the pastors said, “It is more than the location, it is about His teachings.” Unlike a lot of other biblical sites where many sects of faith claim different locations, this is one of the very few that everyone agrees is the generally correct location.
This is the very home town of Jesus during his ministry. He grew up in Nazareth but did not remain there for his entire life. Capernaum is the most important site on the Sea of Galilee uncovered so far. Out of the 33 miracles performed by Christ, 10 of them occurred in Capernaum. A church is also build here over the home of Peter. It was awesome because this was not simply the site that tradition believes is Peter’s home. It is confirmed as his home in Capernaum. It was here that Jesus healed Peter’s mother-in-law. Then not too far from Peter’s home was the synagogue which was ruined but beautiful. They know it is a synagogue and not a church because every church in Israel faces east while this building faces Jerusalem. The ruined synagogue that stood was not the one of Jesus’ time but a later one which was built most likely to commemorate Christ as a rabbi. The synagogue from Jesus’ time is beneath the present one.
Pastor Paul then read Matthew 11:16-24 while we were in the synagogue.
20Then he began to denounce the cities where most of his mighty works had been done, because they did not repent. 21“Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. 22But I tell you, it will be more bearable on the day of judgment for Tyre and Sidon than for you. 23And you, Capernaum, will you be exalted to heaven? You will be brought down to Hades. For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. 24But I tell you that it will be more tolerable on the day of judgment for the land of Sodom than for you.”
Then Ronnie told us that later on after Jesus’ time an major earthquake occurred around the Sea of Galilee, yet every city was rebuilt except Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum. When God gives warns, we tend to believe he is talking to everyone else besides us, but He is not playing around when it comes to warnings.
I loved this one especially because it was connected to the Old Testament. These springs are the very same place where Gideon tested his soldiers in Judges. They know it is at this spot that he did so because it is the only spring in the area. The springs are near the foot of Mount Gilboa where King Saul and his sons were killed in battle.
This city was very interesting. It had two parts the first was the tel (or hill) which is where the old Canaanite city stood. It was in this place that King Saul and his sons’ bodies where hung after being killed. At the bottom of the hill, the Roman city was uncovered in remarkable condition. It would take me forever to go through all the sections of the city we saw but it really gave you a view into the Roman society of Jesus’ time.
I do have to say though that my favorite part was the public restrooms cause they were so awkward. I had hoped to put up a last picture here but was not able to because my picture uploader isn’t working.
It was really interesting seeing a shepherd walk through the ruins herding about fifty sheep with two sheep dogs.