It has been another beautiful day here in the Holy Land. Today began early – our tour guide, Rivka (who is an extensive textbook of all historical matters) said a sunrise over the Sea of Galilee is not to be missed. What luck – my hotel room faces east. And so I awoke at 5:30 a.m. to watch a beautiful display of rays and colours crawl over the hill and break through the clouds.
The Sea of Galilee was the focal point of today. Our travels took us all around the freshwater sea, beginning with a tour on the water. We were guests of the Holy Land Sailing Company, which provides a ride along the coast in a replica of a wooden sailing boat (just like what Jesus would have seen and used… without the motor that it has somehow acquired over the ages). We were then welcomed to the Yigal Alon Museum, which is home to an actual first century wooden sailing vessel found in the Sea of Galilee in 1986.
From there, we followed Jesus' ministry from the water to the land. We drove to the Mount of Beatitudes, and I thought "This is my favourite spot." High above the Sea, we had a peaceful lookout with a garden cared for by the Franciscan community and an octagonal church, representing the eight different Beatitudes. Then, it was on to Capernaum, the ancient Jewish fishing town where Jesus began his ministry. And I thought, "Oh, this is my favourite spot." The layout of the old town is evident with the partially reconstructed rock walls outlining the homes and streets, and the ruins of the synagogue in their central position.
A short drive later and we were at Tabgha, with churches commemorating the Multiplication of the loaves and fishes and Peter's Primacy. And at each church I thought, "Ah, this is my favourite spot." Until… our last stop for the day. We drove up Mount Arbel to the west of the Sea of Galilee where we had a gorgeous view of the entire Sea and its surrounding cities. Whether or not you can be convinced that each of the individual churches are built on the exact spot where Jesus said, "Blessed are the peacemakers," or where he fed five thousand with just five loaves, you can certainly look over the Sea of Galilee and know that, yes, Jesus was here. This is his home, and what a blessed place to be. This is, definitely, my favourite spot.