Friday, October 14, 2011

Reflections on My Trip to Israel - Day 8 of 10

Next morning, breakfast at The Rimonim Hotel was something I will always remember. At the table where Errol and I sat we were privileged to watch the sun rise across the Sea of Galilee.

The fresh, early morning breeze and the rays of the sunrise reflecting on the water and shimmering through the trees were like dancing jewels, and produced a peaceful effect. I wondered: Was it a morning as beautiful as this when Jesus prepared “bread and fish” for His disciples? Did the sunrise reflect on the water just the same and shimmer through the trees just the same when He welcomed his disciples on the beach to “come and dine…?”
Was the water just as peaceful and calm?

After breakfast, Doron took us on a boat trip on the Sea of Galilee. This was something I will always remember. We enjoyed beautiful sunshine, a soft breeze and the knowledge that this was a place Jesus often visited during His lifetime on earth. And at one point, in the middle of the sea, Pastor Peter called for a time of worship and asked the captain of the boat to make a stop. The boat came to a stop and we enjoyed a time of choruses and prayer. But to tell you the truth, I was nervous. In my mind, I was wondering whether the captain, Pastor Peter, the crew and everyone else knew what they were doing.

Remember, I mentioned before that I am afraid of large bodies of water, and as beautiful as the Sea of Galilee is, I would not have liked to go down into it. Besides that, with Jesus not being around physically to help me walk on water as He did with Peter (Matt. 14:29), I knew I would never more be in the land of the living! However, I managed to survive the time of worship even though the boat was rocking from side to side.

We read much about Jesus and the Galilee. And if there was any place I felt His presence it was at the Jordan River and in the region of the Sea of Galilee. To walk in the places where Jesus walked and sail on the sea where Jesus sailed gave me a feeling of awe and humility. Hearing about the Sea of Galilee is one thing, reading about it is another, and actually being there is yet another thing.

I tell you, if ever you visit Israel, and I hope that you will, please make it a must to sail on the Sea of Galilee and visit the Jordan River.

Next, Doron took us to Kibbutz Ginossar where we viewed an ancient boat that dates back to the 1st century AD. This boat was discovered in 1986 on the shore of the Sea of Galilee and experts claimed that this was the type of boat used by people in first century times not only for fishing but also for transport from one side of the lake to the other. A big question is: “Could Jesus have sailed in that boat?” Who knows? We can only speculate, yet it was helpful to us to look closely at an object dating to the time Jesus walked in Galilee and might have used.

Doron, our guide, jokingly warned us not ever to leave the region without eating St. Peter’s fish. He said our trip to the Galilee would be incomplete without tasting that delicious fish and took us to the Ein Gev Fish Restaurant for a sumptuous meal of St. Peter’s fish, chips, and vegetables, complete with Israeli fixings. My goodness, what a spread of food! I tell you, Israel is a vegetarian’s and fish eater’s paradise.

Doron’s insistence about St. Peter’s fish reminded me of a saying in Trinidad about a local fish called “the cascadura” that goes this way: “Those who eat the cascadura will, a native legend says, wheresoever they may wander, end in Trinidad their days.” I wondered if it is the same with St. Peter’s fish and I wondered: Will I end my days in Galilee?

From Galilee we drove to Capernaum, a place that Jesus visited often and saw an ancient synagogue, and the site of the house of Peter. Then we visited the Mount of Beatitudes, the place where Jesus gave His Sermon on the Mount, and drove up the Golan Heights to Caesarea Phillipi.

There is something about the Holy Land that does a work on you, yet one visit is like the seeing the tip of an iceberg. There is s-o-o-o much to see and do. I hope you will make the trip soon.

It was a full day of activities and we were more than happy to be back at our hotel and look forward to dinner and a well-deserved rest for the night. Next day, we visited Mount Carmel where the prophet Elijah defeated the worshippers of Baal.

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