Day 3 was Sunday. We spent it in the Galilee area, for the most part.
We first went to the traditional site of the Sermon on the Mount. That was moving to me; not the church that was built to commemorate the event, but merely looking out on the hillside that is like to the one where Jesus preached. I began reading the Beatitudes out loud while looking out over the hill and found myself getting emotional. I’m not convinced that that was the site, but it’s certainly the area and probably a similar scene to what Jesus would have looked out on.
From there we went to the area that tradition says is the site of the happenings in John 21. There is a church there called “The Primacy of Saint Peter,” for Catholics find a confirmation of Peter’s papacy in the story of the breakfast by the sea.
We also visited Capernaum. There’s a large church there that is situated over what tradition says was the house of Peter’s mother-in-law. There is also a synagogue which is built on top of what was the first-century synagogue.
Later in the day, we went to the Church of the Multiplication, which is where tradition says Jesus fed the 5000. A few days later, Jewish extremists attacked and burned the church. I can’t help but wonder what the reaction would have been had Islamic extremists burned an historic Christian site.
We made a quick visit to the so-called “Jesus boat,” a boat uncovered by the receding waterline at Galilee. It’s probably later than the first century, but does give an idea of the size of boats used by fishermen in Roman times.
We also took a quick boat ride on Galilee. I would have liked more time to look out at the like, with minimal description by our guide. But our guide believed that if 2 minutes of descriptions were good, 20 minutes were better. Still, it was cool to be out on the lake.
From there we went to a site on the Jordan River where they allow people to re-enact their baptisms or, in some cases, actually be baptized. I personally enjoyed just being able to wade in the river. This is the part of the Jordan far north of where most of the Bible stories would have happened, like the miraculous crossing, Jesus’ baptism, John’s ministry, the cleansing of Naaman, etc. But I thoroughly enjoyed seeing this famous river.
It is interesting to drive along the roads in the Golan area and see the signs warning you that there is a minefield next to the road!