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Saturday, April 4, 2015

The Holy Land Day 4 Part 1

It's Thursday morning. I didn't sleep well last night, so I took the opportunity to read the Bible where it mentioned those places I had just visited the day before. This morning we went to Tabgha, a place of seven springs where Jesus fed 5,000 people. Not sure how to pronounce the name. I'm learning that the country is not only rife with hills but also springs, and will later see, also caves. 
We then traveled to Saint Peter's Primacy, the small church right on the Sea of Galilee, where Jesus prepared breakfast for his disciples, despite helping them catch 153 fish. 



There is significance to the number 153, beyond it being one mega load of fish. One of which is mathematical and way beyond my comprehension, but also some say that it is the numerical representation of the power of God. After the disciples ate, Jesus walked along the water's edge with Peter, and asked him if he loved Him three times, in essence, forgiving Peter for denying Him three times. 
We stopped for a photo op, though we hardly do the site justice. 



There are even three heart shaped stones on the beach to commemorate Jesus's forgiveness. 



Here, we also find Decapolis, a set of ten cities. There were many people here, and as I previously mentioned, this place was on the trade route, and could help to spread the Good News to the north. 
Across the lake, we can see the cliffs from which the pigs threw themselves to their deaths, (By drowning) after spirits inhabited them. Because pigs are unclean, we know that there were non-Jews living there, also.


We were told that the water level was much higher in Biblical times, so I can see how the animals would have drowned. We learned that Jesus often rowed across to this side to minister to the people there, but always returned home at night.
But the day gets better still! We visited Capernaum, Peter's hometown. We can still see the ruins of his house, which eventually became a church. 



And we saw our first bit of wildlife - a rock hyrex. Yes, we heard wild animals, but this was our first sighting. Can you spot it? It looks like a large groundhog.



It rained all morning, and was difficult to walk slowly as we listened to Rafe, but our spirits were hardly dampened. Many of us are looking forward to our next adventure, a trip out onto the lake.
The skies began to clear as we made our way on board at a dock close to our hotel, and I have to say, that it was at that hour, we defined ourselves as a group. 
The captain hoisted the Canadian flag and we all stood up and sang O Canada. It drew us together. We were not just a group of Christians touring The Holy Land. We were Canadians. I can almost understand how the Jews felt returning in 1947, to a new Israel, bound together by a national identity. It was a stirring moment.




On board, we learned how they cast off nets (we didn't catch anything) and how the Captain became a Messianic Jew, a man who came to Galilee to find his birth mother and ended up finding his Father. He was a song writer and singer and ministered to us with his music. I purchased some necklaces made by the crew, and James said that this was why we needed to come out on this very boat.
After the boat ride, which many felt was the highlight of the trip, so far, we visited a nearby museum that holds a 2,000 year old boat, entitled the Jesus Boat, although there is no proof Jesus sailed in it. It was found right outside the kibbutz in the mud, about ten years ago during a drought, and needed painstaking work to keep it from rotting. 



In my next post, I will share how five of our group were baptized in the Jordan, and of a tour of our kibbutz.

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