To leave Ein Gev and head towards the northwest corner of the Sea of Galilee, we took a boat! It probably would have felt more “authentic” if it had been at night with the wind, giant waves, and darkness, but safety is good too. It took longer than I expected, but that may have been due to the angle we were going and the stop in the middle for some reflection courtesy of Dr. Mathewson.
The frustrations of not going to the bathroom for free at the museum or the following church clouded most of the enjoyment out of the sights at the first church we visited. I understand from an economic standpoint they could probably use the money, but it feels like it sucks the sanctity out of a site. It’s a constant reminder that people live here; it’s not just a place for tourist and pilgrim and enjoyment.
The Arbel Cliffs was everything I hoped it would be. I could sit on the cliff and stare off in the distance all day long if we didn’t have such busy days planned! It feels as though most places we visit have a fairly positive or neutral story associated with it along with a gory tale ending with lots of death. Arbel was no different. The horrors Herod committed are coming more alive with each day. No wonder the Jews yearned for a messiah to overthrow the political power with all the mass murdering Herod did. It’s unfortunate that Herod couldn’t commit his brilliant mind to something more positive (because dropping soldiers down in baskets is rather sharp.) To use Dr. Phillips’ comparison, Herod spent his life building his own kingdom while Jesus spent His life building the Kingdom. How often do I act like Herod and put all my energies towards my own selfish desires at the expense of others and God?
The rest of the day felt rather disjointed, but Capernaum was lovely. Again, it felt overly commercialized, but the chapel above the ruins was rather restorative for my soul. Like practically all the sights, I could spend all day meditating in that space.
Two things: I wish I knew Hebrew so I could get around Israel more easily, and I wish I knew Latin so I could read all the text inside churches. The carvings showing the various stages of Jesus’ life took my breathe away.
As always, God is the Great Provider—this time in the form of gluten free pita courtesy of the hotel staff at Nazareth. He is so good.
Originally written June 4, 2014.