We packed up our too-full bags, loaded the buses and headed North up the Jordan Valley toward Tiberias – a small city on the Sea of Galilee where we will spend the remainder of our time in Israel.
This country is so rich with history that we were able to visit several significant and interesting sites along our route: Bet She’an, Capernaum, Miigdal and the Mount of Beatitudes. If you are a Bible or history junkie, you absolutely must come on an Israel tour! For the “let’s keep it simple” people, I have copied some brief descriptions of the sites below.
Initially built in 5000-4000 BC and ruled by the Egyptians for centuries until King Saul tried to conquer it. But after the battle at Mount Gilboa nearly, the Philistines hung the bodies of King Saul and his sons from the walls of the city. King David later conquered Bet She’an and it was until Jewish control until 731 BC when the Assyrians destroyed the city.
The modern town of Migdal is the traditional site of Magdala, the town of Mary Magdalene, a follower of Jesus. It is the site of the first synagogue discovered in Galilee.
Capernaum was the center of Jesus activities in Galilee and his town during that time. Jesus taught in the local synagogue. It was also the home town of several of the apostles – including Peter.
Mount of Beatitudes
The Mount of Beatitudes is believed to be the place where Jesus delivers the Sermon on the Mount. It overlooks the Northwestern shore of the Sea of Galilee.
In the video, you will hear me ask our traveler what we call the big hill we are standing on – it’s a tel. Tels are actually made out of a number of layers of construction that accumulated over the years, after each layer was grazed or burnt down by the conquering armies. At a rate of destruction every 100 years or so, many layers have been accumulated, and the height of the hill grew from one layer to the next.
Talk about Information overload!! I’m glad there won’t be a test at the end of the trip. I can barely remember the NAMES of the sites we visited yesterday never mind the the historical significance. (Our guides make it seem so easy! They could talk for several hours at each site if we let them). But seriously, it’s an amazing experience to be here – to see, feel, hear, taste and experience the lands of the Bible. Jesus and the disciples walked here, ate here, slept here. Wow… just wow.
Our days have been long and full (and we are also full from the incredible buffet dinners each night but that’s for another post perhaps). We are looking forward to slowing down and to hearing from Charles Price and Brett McBride on the upcoming retreat. Stay tuned for more details and be sure to check out the pictures from today’s adventures.
Until next time,