PESM to Israel 2022-In the footsteps of Yeshua
Hello Friends and Family!
Oh my, what a day we've had. 16,000 steps in all totaling 7.2 miles all around the Sea of Galilee today, walking in the footsteps of Jesus. We had a wonderfully full day of exploring and reflecting on so many of the stories and events of Jesus' ministry in the Galilee! It was an awesome day.
(our dining room in the Galilee with the incredible view: photo courtesy of Ryan Thorson)
We began our day descending Mt. Arbel, a prominent point around the Sea and we descended into the canyon where the trail from Nazareth to Capernaum was that Jesus would have walked. We enjoyed the beauty of the morning in the steep descent and panoramic views of the Sea and the Plain of Gennesaret.
(the descent down Mt. Arbel: photo courtesy of Megan Teune)
(brave explorers: photo courtesy of Megan Teune)
(Looking up Mt. Arbel towards the caves where Jewish rebels hid: photo courtesy of Matt Eckhardt)
(beautiful flowers on Mt. Arbel: photo courtesy of Megan Teune)
(view of the Jesus trail, which begins in Nazareth and ends at Capernaum, the trail that Jesus used to enter the Galilee: photo courtesy of Ryan Thorson)
After our hike down, we had the privilege of attending worship with a Messianic congregation in Tiberias. They were so welcoming and it was such a joy to worship together with around 300 sisters and brothers in Yeshua. There was translation in English and Russian, so we were grateful for the translation and it was a reminder of what heaven will be like, people from every tribe and tongue worshipping Yeshua HaMeshiach, Jesus the Messiah!
After lunch we visited Magdala, probable hometown of Mary Magdalene, where we saw a first century synagogue and village, as well as a beautiful church of the disciples and the women who followed Jesus. Pastor Heather gave a beautiful message from John 20 about Mary's encounter with her risen Lord.
(recently discovered 1st century synagogue of Magdala: photo courtesy of Matt Eckhardt)
(Pastor Heather preaching in the chapel at Magdala)
(mural of the story of the woman who touches Jesus' cloak and is healed: photo courtesy of Ryan Thorson)
After Magdala we shared in a late lunch of St. Peter's fish from the Sea of Galilee. It is a special treat!
(St. Peter's Fish (Tilapia) Yum! Photo courtesy of Jeremiah Duncan)
After we filled ourselves with fish we headed north around the lake and went up on a hillside to the probable mount of beatitudes. Here, Pastor Mary gave a beautiful devotional on the Beatitudes as we all gathered around her, much like the disciples would've gathered around Jesus. As we sat on the hillside looking out over the Lake we were reminded of the promises of God's Kingdom that are being fulfilled all over the world!
(Pastor Mary preaching on the Beatitudes from the sermon on the mount: photo courtesy of Megan Teune)
("Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.")
We descended the hillside and went to the city of Capernaum. Extensive excavations have revealed the 1st century hometown of Jesus, along with synagogue, homes and streets. It was special to be here, where so many of Jesus' miracles and teachings took place and where he called Matthew the tax collector to follow Him. This was a highlight of the day for many of us.
(Entering the city of Jesus' hometown during his Galilean Ministry: photo courtesy of Ryan Thorson)
(The port at Capernaum where Jesus called fishermen to follow him: photo courtesy of Matt Eckhardt)
(View of the Lake from Capernaum: photo courtesy of Jeremiah Duncan)
4th century synagogue in Capernaum, built on top of smaller 1st century synagogue from Jesus' time: photo courtesy of Jeremiah Duncan)
(most of our crew at Capernaum: photo courtesy of Megan Teune)
(Followers of Yeshua in his hometown, Ryan and Matt: photo courtesy of Ryan Thorson)
(statue of a homeless man outside of Capernaum...notice the pierced feet: photo courtesy of Ryan Thorson)
After Capernaum we wound our way around the north part of the Galilee, passing the hometown of Peter, James and John and viewing the Plain of Bethsaida where Jesus multiplied the fish and loaves. Then, we headed to the east side of the lake to the probable spot where Jesus healed the demoniac and sent the pigs over the edge. Then, those that had energy left spent it hiking 500 feet up to one of the cities of the Decapolis, Hippos. We were met with a gorgeous sunset view of the sea of Galilee as we descended.
(the ruins of Hippos, 800 feet above the sea of Galilee: photo courtesy of Matt Eckhardt)
(Sunset view of the lake from Hippos: photo courtesy of Matt Eckhardt)
(another gorgeous view from Hippos: photo courtesy of Matt Eckhardt)
(Fellow traveler on the road to Hippos: photo courtesy of Jere
We have had a full 4 days around the Sea of Galilee, twice as many as most groups get. Tomorrow we begin to work our way south and see some of the sites in the Jordan Rift Valley and Jezreel valley before settling in north of Samaria for a few nights.
Thanks for your prayers! Until tomorrow!