A morning walk through the Valley of the Doves got us started on an absolutely beautiful day. We had the best weather of the trip so far today, and it was the perfect day for it. We are so thankful for our experiences and for the sunshine that accompanied us all day. The Valley is part of the “Gospel Trail” in Israel, and was the route Jesus took when he left Nazareth to relocate his home base to Capernaum on the Sea of Galilee.
Around 9:00, we were on a boat headed out onto the Sea, where we were able to cut the engines, listen to the Scriptures, and have some quiet time and prayer before finishing with a song together and returning to shore. The lake could not have cooperated more in its peacefulness. The tranquility of being out there and being able to be still (physically and spiritually) was a great gift from God.
Before leaving the kibbutz where we caught the boat, we saw the first-century “Jesus Boat.” It is a fishing boat similar to one Jesus and the disciples would have known, and it was recovered from the mud in the Sea of Galilee during a time of extremely low water levels in the 1980s.
We continued to visit sites associated with specific events in Jesus’ life and ministry. First, the place of the multiplication of the loaves and fish in Tabgha, then up to the Mount of Beatitudes, which is likely very near the place where Jesus gave the Sermon on the Mount.
After lunch of St. Peter’s fish (fresh from the Sea of Galilee, served whole!), we visited Sower’s Cove, known for its natural acoustics. This is the location believed to be the place where Jesus preached about the sower and the soils in Mark 4, speaking from a boat to a large number of people seated on the hillside of the shore. Harry Park led us in our devotional time, focusing on this parable as it appears in the three synoptic gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke). What an amazing experience to consider the parable in the very place it was given by the Lord! (Thanks, Harry!)
Our last stop was at the large town of Capernaum, where Jesus healed Peter’s mother-in-law, among some 20 other miracles. This town was on an international highway: a perfect place for Jesus to preach, teach, and heal. His message of good news could be carried by the many travelers to places near and far because of Capernaum’s strategic location.
We heard a choir sing in the church that sits above Peter’s house (a beautiful impromptu blessing for us), and we toured the 4th century synagogue built on the same foundation that held the first century synagogue that Jesus attended and taught from. We also got a sense for the size and layout of Capernaum itself, and for how the homes in Jesus’ time looked there.
We thank God from whom so many blessings have flowed today! And we prepare to travel south to the Jordan Valley and the Dead Sea area tomorrow.