Day 6 Around the Sea of Galilee

Trip Start Jan 13, 2013
Trip End Jan 25, 2013

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Where I stayed
What I did
Mount of Beatitudes
Multiplication church
Primacy of Peter
Ein Gev Kibbutz
Naf Ginisar Kibbutz

Flag of Israel  , Galilee,
Friday, January 18, 2013

Early morning was greeted with a spectacular sunrise over the Sea of Galilee. Our hotel, the Ron Beach Hotel is located on the shore of the sea so from our Room's balcony we had a great view of the Sea looking south.  The sea of Galilee is in fact a freshwater lake which catches the melting snow of Mount Hermon and the Golan Heights and flows through the Jordan river into the lake.

Today was going to be a day of visiting churches strategically located at sites around the shore of the Sea. Our first stop on today's journey was only a short trip to the Mount of the Beatitudes. It was hard to comprehend that I was standing where most favoruite passage in the Bible, the Sermon on the Mount was delivered by Jesus. Perched on top of the Mount was the Church overlooking the hillsides sloping down to the shore. Despite the throng of tourists/pilgrims including ourselves, the place was strangely serene. Father read the scripture passage of the sermon on the mount.

Then back on the bus where we made our way a short way up the road to Tabgha to the Church of the Multiplication where the miracle of the loaves and fishes. Again Father read the scripture passage. This visit was followed by yet again a short bus ride to the site commemorating the Primacy of Peter. This site commemorated Peter being designated as " the rock on which I shall build my church. We walked down to the shoreline made up of small pebbles for a photo and time to reflect on where we actually were!

Around the Sea are numerous Kibbutz's that tend to focus more on the tourist trade rather than agriculture. At the Naf Ginisar Kibbutz we listened to an audio visual presentation of the preservation of a 1st century fishing vessel found in the seabed during a drought which exposed more seabed than previous years.

From the kibbutz we boarded a boat not unlike the one preserved in the museum for a trip across the Galilee. We boarded the boat to Advance Australia Fair and the raising of our flag. Nice touch! Approximately half way across the boat stopped in preparation form daily mass. What a wonderful setting as the wind was still and the sea was calm. There was an amazing silence in between parts of the Mass, so quiet that you could hear the water lapping on the side of the boat.

At mass, Fr Columba's sermon reflected on the gospel passage of the Jesus and the disciples on their boat as the storm as a storm blew up. He liken their stormy waters to the stormy waters in our lives and the life of the church at present. He challenged us not to 'jump ship' and to remain focused on Christ in troubled times and to know the calmness of God who is with us.

At Mass ended the boat fired up its engines and we we off to shore for lunch by the shore of the Ein Gev Kibbutz. The majority of our pilgrims ( not me! ) joined in some traditional Jewish dancing on the deck of the boat before reaching the shore.

Once at lunch, the main course was fish, obviously. The dish was oven baked fish (full fish, bones and all) along with the usual salad, pita bread and homus. 

We were collected by our bus which had been driven around to the other side of the Sea. Our final stop for the day was Capernaum, the ancient ruins of the town at the centre of Jesus' ministry and the home of St Peter. The original house built out of basalt rock was surrounded by the ruins of two ancient churches from different periods. A new church had been engineered over the top of the ruins and at its centre was glass framed floor allowing you to look down into the ruins of St Peters house.

Nearby where ruins of a synagogue church from the 4 century but not unlike to synagogue that Jesus would have preached in.

Our journey back to our hotel skirted the shoreline of the sea which was dominated fruit orchards of bananas and mangoes, not unlike those orchards in North Queensland.

We arrives back at our holes at 4:45 and some of us opted to be dropped off in the nearby town of Tiberius. However being that it was Friday to the girls dismay many of the shops were closing for the Sabbath from 5 pm Friday to 5 pm Saturday.

After dinner, Dr Dan gave a talk on the 'honour and shame ' society of 1st century Palestine which put into perspective the scriptures. People(men) of that time sought honour by building their family's wealth and status. However much could also bring shame to the family.

This was an another early night as the next morning we were departing early for Mt Tabor the site of the Transfiguration of The Lord.

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