Israel Journey — Day 15
This was another fascinating day —
We didn’t have to travel far from our Ein Gev lodging on the Sea of Galilee to see the place where the demoniac “Legion” met Jesus. It’s amazing because the Bible is so specific about many locations. It was “on the other side of the sea,” “in the country of Gerasenes,” in the place of the tombs (which are still there). When Jesus cast the demons out, they begged to go to the pigs, which the Bible says, ran off a cliff. That one would probably be harder to pin down, except that if you look around, the only cliff around the entire Sea in that area, is nearby (the shot with the highway in it)! So, we’re pretty sure we saw both of those locations accurately.
Next, was Bethsaida, where we saw evidence of idol worship and the “fisherman’s house” (Phillip, Peter and Andrew were from Bethsaida, so that sparks interest for many).
Korazim had a synagogue (see the “Bema Seat”).
Capernaum was beautiful, with an olive press, synagogue and Peter’s house where an airy Catholic church is now built.
I had been looking forward to visiting Tabgha and was not disappointed. There is a Franciscan church there that has the rock where Jesus made breakfast for the disciples after they were out at sea and He told them to put their nets down and they got more fish than they could handle! The rock goes from the outside of the church (the shot where Joel is shooting video) into the inside (arched indoor church shot). I thought it was a really cool design and the church was another one, like Peter’s house that wasn’t stuffy and overdone, but simple and peaceful.
Dr. Varner had been talking about eating St. Peter’s fish for a few days, so we were excited to give it a try. It turned out to be much like the fish we eat where we live, so we got the bones out pretty quickly and enjoyed a great lunch.
From there, we went to see “The Ancient Galilee Boat.” It was a 2,000 year old boat that they carefully lifted from the mud and preserved for us to see. Incredible.
The water rat was, of all places, in the Jordan River where we went to do baptisms of a couple of the group members. Yes, it was a little distracting.
Susita was the next stop, high on top of a mountain. When Jesus mentions a city on a hill, it is likely that this would have been the place people thought of because it was the only city on a hill in those days. Of course, others took advantage of that location later. We saw Syrian bunkers, among the ruins that toppled after a violent earthquake. Since the bus had left us at the top, we hiked down the mountain. This was another one of those places where “no tour groups go” so it was no surprise to find that the path was overgrown with thorns and thistles. So bad that we were all making jokes about it (between the blood and tears).
We went back to the hotel, grabbed dinner and then went back to the Sea of Galilee for a late night boat ride. We motored out into the water and then shut the engines off and bobbed around in the water, watching the lights of the shoreline and listening to the stories of Jesus on the water.
Yes, there was a lot going on that day! We counted at least 13 locations in 13 hours. It was a lot, so, the next day, a few people decided to take a break, but … the show must go on! Back to the room to charge batteries throughout the night and hit the road again in the morning!