Today was a very adventurous day around the Sea of Galilee. The theme of everyone's comments about today was that so much of it was unexpected. We woke up this morning to what we all thought was fog. Little did we know that it was actually "widespread dust." The prevailing winds are normally from the west here in Israel, but today, they were from the south, and they were STRONG. This caused dust from the desert in the south to come and coat us all and fill the whole sky. Here are two pictures to show you what the air looked like today:
After a time of devotions and breakfast, our first stop was to an old 1st century town in Galilee called Chorazin (ref. Luke 10). Sahar taught on the synagogue and what that would have looked like in Jesus's time. We also learned about the Pharisees and their role in the Jewish nation. One interesting takeaway fact was that in Jesus's time Here are a few other pictures:
Next, we traveled to the Mount of Beatitudes. This is the traditional site of Jesus's Sermon on the Mount. We read from Matthew and Luke's account of the Sermon on the Mount, and then had free time to spend time with the Lord in prayer and exploration of the church. Many found this time particularly meaningful:
The next place we visited was the Church of Multiplication. This church commemorates Jesus's miracle of the multiplication of loaves and fishes. We were treated to a spontaneous song from a German tour group who was also there at the church. This ended up being a powerful experience for some in the group:
Then we traveled to Capernaum, the site of much of Jesus's ministry. This is also where Jesus called Peter and Andrew to follow Him. We had a teaching from Sahar while in the "white synagogue," so named for the white marble that it's made of. This is also the location of Peter's house, and the house church started there:
At this point in the day, we went to a restaurant to have "St. Peter's Fish," a whole tilapia! Some were less adventurous and went for a fish filet or chicken breast. Here our some of our brave eaters and their fish:
We pushed up our boat tour on the Sea of Galilee to try to beat the forecasted rain this afternoon. We got out on the boat and were having a great time, raised the flags up the line had some worship music going, and were just enjoying finally getting to see the water today (the dust storm obstructed the view all day). It started to rain a bit, but we were still having a good time. Then, the boat operator got out some bread to start feeding the seagulls:
(Video to come)
And then we learned a traditional Hebrew dance...
And at the exact moment that we finished dancing, was when we experienced one of those storms on the Sea of Galilee that we see recorded in scripture so often (and we had just read about this as we set off from the dock). The boat even tipped a bit, and if you can see from the video above how big of a boat this is, you would know that it was some mighty strong winds and waves. Our boat operators got us quickly and safely back to shore, and while a little wet, we were no worse for the wear. Our guide Sahar said that he had never experienced one of those boat rides with as much wind and rain as we had, but also commented that we were very good sports about the whole thing. We all found the whole experience to be rather exhilarating!
We finished the day by visiting the museum on the property of our hotel where a first century wooden fishing boat was found and preserved. It's truly amazing to see:
Prayer Requests: Praise the Lord for the return of one of the Kortokraxes' bags! The second one *should* be here tomorrow. Please pray that the last suitcase would arrive intact! Please also pray for David, who is feeling under the weather, that he would be healed and that Gracen would be protected from the illness. In addition:
Thursday, February 12 – Third Day of Touring: Northern Israel – Golan Heights, Mount Hermon, Syrian border, OT city of Dan, Lebanon border, and headwaters of the Jordan River – For safety as we enter disputed territory where there has been recent unrest and that we might learn more fully the meaning of “living water” as we see the beginning of the Jordan River. Pray also for Griffin Waldhauser and John Zeigenfuse, celebrating birthdays today. (Overnight in Sea of Galilee.)