This morning started off with a beautiful sunrise on the Sea of Galilee. Our hotel rooms all have windows that face east overlooking the sea. It was a great way to start the day. After breakfast, we headed for the delayed boat ride on the Sea of Galilee. Actually, our misfortune from yesterday was a blessing this morning. Yesterday morning featured some haze along the lake, but today was crystal clear. It was a perfect day for viewing the sites. Our boat ride lasted about two hours. We were able to see Tiberias, Magdala, Capernaum, Mount of Beatitudes, Tabgha and the Cove of the Sower. You can learn so much about the stories in the Gospels by actually being out on the sea. The same sea that Jesus calmed by speaking to it. The same sea that Jesus walked on to meet with his disciples. And, the same sea in which he instructed some local fishermen to go against everything they knew about fishing and cast their nets on the other side of the boat.
We got off the boat at Ginnesor and visited a museum which contains an ancient boat from the first century AD. About 30 years ago, the Galilee region suffered a drought and water level dropped considerably revealing an ancient boat. The boat was dug out, protected and placed in the museum for us to enjoy. Again, it allows us to see the type of boats that were used during Jesus' time.
From there we made multiple stops:
1) Magdala Archaeological Dig Site - Recently, they have discovered remains of the city of Magdala. The city is not mentioned in the Bible, but we do know of one of its residents. Remember Mary Magdaline? A better translation of her "name" is Mary from Magdala.
2) Mount of Beatitudes - This is the traditional location of where Jesus preached the Sermon on the Mount. Honestly, it is probably not the exact location, but it is in the vicinity of where that even occurred.
3) Capernaum - The ruins of this city lies along the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee. During the first century, it was a thriving fishing community. Jesus spent much of his ministry in and around the Capernaum area. From the shore, you can envision the disciples heading out across the sea in their boat.
4) Chorazim - We drove by the ruins in ancient Chorazim. This is one of the cities that Jesus condemned due to their unbelief.
5) Bethsaida - We toured the site of ancient Bethsaida. Honestly, there is considerable questions about the validity of the site. Obviously, there is an ancient city here, but whether or not it is Bethsaida is the question.
We made our way around the eastern side of the Sea of Galilee finishing up by looking at the ruins of ancient Tiberias. Tomorrow morning, after worship, we will leave the Galilee region and head south toward Jerusalem.