The next day we got up and started heading north.
Our destination was the Sea of Galilee – and once we got there our first stop was the Galilee Boat
This is a 1st century boat that was found after the sea receded quite a bit during a drought in the 80’s. Some amateur archeologist/fishermen brothers found it and it was excavated and underwent a 20-year long process of slowly extracting moisture and replacing it with a resin so that the 2000 year old wood could remain intact in open air.
It was a pretty cool thing to see as there are so many references to boats on the Sea of Galilee in the New Testament – and previously there hadn’t really been any significant findings of them. This one – which they dated to about 50AD – helps give some idea what kind of vessels were used for fishing and transport back in the first century.
After we saw the boat we had a bit of a snack lunch in a park just outside the museum
Everyone was just enjoying the beautiful weather, the shade in the park, and a chance for the kids to just run around .
From there we went a bit further along the coast of the Sea to the Church of Multiplication of Loaves and Fishes – which you may be able to guess from the name -was built to commemorate the place where Jesus multiplied the loaves and fishes.
From here we drove just across the road and up the hill to the mountain of Beatitudes – the place where they think Jesus gave his “Sermon on the Mount”
It is actually a beautiful hillside on the north shore of the lake – surprisingly lush and green.
The church itself was quite a bit like so many of the other churches/monuments that are around these parts – rather shrine-like. It really seems that people want to attach so much significance to the actual place – the ground where Jesus supposedly stood to speak, or the rock where he supposedly set the bread and fish – that it feels like they are thought to be more important that what He actually did, or who He actually was.
For me, it was much more interesting – and meaningful – to walk around the grounds, and begin to have some sense of what this place looks like, to have an idea where the people were sitting when they were gathered here.
After that we headed back down along the west coast of the sea – and stopped where the Jordan RIver leaves before it heads all the way down to the Dead Sea.
At this spot there is a place that is set up for baptisms in the Jordan RIver – the same River that John the Baptist did his work in, and where he baptized Jesus himself. We had come here as Emma and Ethan had both decided that this would be the time and place they would like to be baptized.
It is quite different than the sanitized indoor baptisms that we’re more used to…as these were the kinds of attendants who were there with us:
We were directed to a spot with some stairs heading down into the water – just the 12 of us there, but we could hear from other parts people being baptized There was what appeared to be a Korean pastor with dozens of people with him. He was out in the river, up to his chest, preaching with such conviction that he was practically shouting and splashing with his hands. There was a group that appeared to be from Central America, singing hymns in Spanish as some of them went down into the water.
Then Rob got in the water (and we later learned, kept moving his feet to try to keep the massive cat-fish at a distance) and baptized his two oldest kids. At the very end of the trip on our last day, despite all the things we had seen and done, our kids each listed this as one of their favourite things that we did on our trip.
Pretty hard to argue with the view we had for supper – we were as close to the water as we would have been on a boat – but on solid ground for the kids to run around on, and no rocking back and forth……
As we were finishing our meal, the moon began to come up over the hills on the other side of the Sea. It was a completely cloudless evening, and a perfectly full moon. A pretty spectactular way to end our day in Galilee.
Yet another great day