Thoughts of Jesus filled and continue to fill my heart as I think of this day. As the Gospels and historians confirm, the Galilee is where Jesus came after his baptism by John, his desert temptation and the miracle of the water & wine at Cana. It is on these shores where much of his ministry took place. I can picture him there, calling Peter, the miraculous net-breaking catch of fish, feeding five thousand, calming the storm, walking on the water.
We started our day at a 1st century synagogue in Magdala. Mary of Magdalene came from there and Jesus definitely would have taught there. The excavation was amazing, as was the beautiful mural in the church there. it represents the woman with the issue of blood who was made whole by her faith, and by touching Jesus.
Next was Capernaum (Kfar Nahum or Nahum’s village). Archaeological excavations there include Peter’s house and a 4th century synagogue (limestone) which was built on the foundation of a 1st century (black basalt) synagogue. This was the hometown of Peter, James, John, Andrew and the tax collector Matthew. Its where Jesus healed the Roman Centurion’s servant, Peter’s mother-in-law and the paralytic lowered through the roof.
We spent time on the Sea of Galilee before going to lunch at Ein Giv. We enjoyed the peaceful waters, saw how the fishing net was thrown, sang worship songs and danced an Israeli dance (thanks to instruction from Eli, one of our guides), and were taught by Pastor Terri.
We visited the Jesus Boat Museum at Ginosar before continuing on to Yardenit, the baptism site on the Jordan river. At Yardenit many of us donned baptismal robes and were baptized by our pastors. It was very meaningful for me, a reconfirmation of my dedication to Jesus, and it was so precious to be baptized by Pastor Terri . (I didn’t want to show myself crying, so the photo shows Pastor Terri smiling as I came up out of the water).
We ended our day with dinner back at the Sea of Galilee Hotel in Magdala, and rested in preparation for day 4.
I am so grateful to have been there, where he walked. I hope the next time you read about the Sea of Galilee and Capernaum in the Gospels that these images will help these places and stories come alive for you too.