Today presented us with several unforgettable memories around the shores of The Sea of Galilee. We started out with a sunrise boating excursion where our guide showed us how fishing was done in the time of Jesus. Pastor Chris Seay shared with us from the account of John’s Gospel describing the miraculous catch of fish by Jesus’ disciples.
Pastor Chris showed us how to walk on water…
After breakfast we headed to an active archaeological site called Magdala, the site of at least two places in ancient Israel mentioned in the Jewish Talmud and possibly a location mentioned in the Christian New Testament. They have discovered an ancient Jewish Synagogue which would have been active during Jesus’ time.
We then made our way to lunch at the Villa Harte restaurant with its gorgeous overlook of The Sea of Galilee. The restaurant is situated above a small beach that has spring-fed pools at its shore. We enjoyed the very cool spring water in what continues to be record-breaking heat here.
We then enjoyed an extravagant meal at the Auberge Shulamit where we celebrated Pastor Chris’ late grandfather’s birthday. Chris’ grandfather was also a pastor and led 30 groups to the Holy Land during his life. The owner of the restaurant personally greeted us and even helped in serving the meals; the staff were all genuinely friendly people.
Chris holding up a photo of his late grandfather when he was around Chris’ age, in the Holy Land…
The owner of the restaurant heard about Chris’ grandfather and had a small cake brought out in his honor.
Because of the heat, we delayed our visit to the Mount of Beatitudes until after sunset. The official site’s gates were closed. Of course we didn’t let that stop us. After walking a trail with flashlights, we found some stones that seemed arranged just for us, and sat there near the site that is believed to be where Jesus delivered the most famous sermon of all time, the Sermon on the Mount. Pastor Chris read the entire sermon to us as the breeze of the Galilee came as a gift after a very hot day. The lights of the towns on the other side of the lake flickered beyond, creating a beautiful backdrop for an indelible memory.