This was probably one of my favorite field trips. (I’m pretty sure that I say that about every field trip… come to think of it.) We left Ein Gev at 7:45 and went to the actual kibbutz to catch our boat. Yes, our boat.
We got to ride a boat across the Sea of Galilee. :) But a trip to Galilee wouldn’t be complete otherwise! We got to stop and had a devotional in the center of the lake. We sang “Master the Tempest is Raging” and “Jesus Savior, Pilot me.” I love how much we sing here… one of my favorite lines, that will forever more bring to mind this view:
Master, the terror is over,
The elements sweetly rest;
Earth’s sun in the calm lake is mirrored,
And heaven’s within my breast;
Linger, O blessèd Redeemer!
Leave me alone no more;
And with joy I shall make the blest harbor,
And rest on the blissful shore.
Another cool fact I learned: (whether or not this is true I’m not completely sure) The hymn, "Master the Tempest is Raging" was originally written as a conversation between the apostles and the Savior when he fell asleep in the back of their ship. Today we sing “the winds and the waves shall obey thy will,” but some versions have it written as “my will.”
When we landed, we went to see the ancient Galilean boat that was discovered and is not displayed in Nof Ginosar. This is the type of boat that they apostles would have used when they were fishing for a living.
I don't know if I would trust it...
Our next stop was the Mt. of Beatitudes. In addition to the beautiful grounds, which we were specifically told to help in the “unkeep” of, (I told you they don’t know how to spell here…)
...it was absolutely gorgeous! The grounds were beautiful, but this was one of the places that I struggled to envision the events described, more because there was so much modern influence (and a wall was blocking my view!)
The hills below the church there create a natural theater where the Savior could have very easily taught a large crowd, and his voice would have carried in either direction, whether he has been uphill or downhill.
But there was a very sweet spirit there. We got to talk to one of the nuns that is there, and she gave one of the sweetest testimonies that I have ever heard about the Sermon on the Mount. She talked about the Beatitudes as a guidebook for our lives. It tells us everything that we need to live – it starts out with how we should act as individuals, and then it tells us how we should interact with others. If we do those things, we will have happiness in life, and it will draw us closer to our Savior. In my own study, I looked up the definition of “beatitude” and it means, “supreme blessedness or happiness.” I’ve been thinking about happiness a lot lately. It seems like so much of life is focused on finding happiness. Not on creating happiness. The most lasting happiness comes from within us, and our righteous choices. I read this fantastic article in the Ensign this month. My favorite quote was, “The Savior specifically prayed that God would not take us ‘out of the world’ (John 17:15). ‘In this world your joy is not full,’ he taught, ‘but in me your joy is full’ (D&C 101:36). True happiness and satisfaction are found only by turning away from the world and coming to Christ.” (Be of Good Cheer: Choosing Happiness, Camille Fronk Olson).
nutmeg, emily, kayla, me, ariel and kristi!
I don’t think that I’ve ever learned so much in a single day… or sweat as much either. Our next stop was at the Church of the Multiplication in Tabgha, the traditional (though probably incorrect) site of the feeding of the 5000. This is the site of the mosaic of the 5 loaves and the 2 fishes. (I have to admit, I had never quite made that connection!)
in the courtyard of the Church of the Multipication
the fishie mosaic.
i'm thinking about putting it in my kitchen when i get a house...
After Tabgha, we went to the church of St. Peter’s Primacy. Inside of the church is a rock with the title, “mensa Christi” which means “the table of Christ.” This is supposedly the rock on which Christ fed his apostles breakfast and told Peter to “feed my sheep.”
Do you think this day is done? NO!
After dipping our feet in the lake, (some getting a little more wet then others… hehe) we went to Capernaum! The name comes from the Hebrew: Kfar Nahum, which basically means “the city of Nahum,” although there is no link to the prophet. Capernaum is the hometown of Peter, and was referred to in the New Testament as “Christ’s own city.” After he was rejected at Nazareth, he spent most of his time preaching, and Capernaum was as close to a real home as he got. One great thing about Capernaum was the synagogue. Everything here is made out of black basalt stone… which is quite different from the white limestone of Jerusalem. Anything other than the basalt had to be imported into the Galilee. So we saw a white limestone synagogue from the 5th century that was built on an earlier 1st century synagogue. We got to look out at the streets that the Savior would have walked down (like in Matthew 8 and 9).
Another story came to life to me here. The story of the man with palsy being lowered through the roof of the house, because there were so many people there to listen to the Savior preach very likely occurred at Peter’s house. I’ve been to an extremely likely location for Peter’s house! There have been many additions to that site, you can see where Peter’s house might have originally stood, but it has been covered by subsequent churches. The most recent church was actually literally built over the top of the ruins. It kinda looks like a spaceship.
the rocks in the middle were the first church built there, you have to look inside of it to see the remnants of the original wall of the house that it was built around/over. then other churches were then built around (the wall up close) and above (the weird black stuff at the top of the pic)... i think it looks like something off of independence day...
The last stop of the day was Bethsaida (actually I lied… we went somewhere else first.) On the way to Bethsaida, we stopped by the Bay of Parables. This little bay has some unique properties… if you stand (or sit in a boat) and speak towards the shore, your voice is amplified 8 times. They don’t know if this is the location where Christ taught from the boat, but it is really interesting to think about!
jarom, ambird (amber), tashara (up top), kristi, and me!
Now, on to Bethsaida! Bethsaida was the hometown of Philip, Andrew and Peter. One of the three cities in the “ecclesiastical triangle” (an area of the Galilee where the Savior did most of his preaching and miracles) we got to walk on its ruins. One of the interesting points to see was the “fisherman’s house,” where they found evidence of fishhooks, nets and other tell-tale signs of people involved in the fishing business. Being from this city, Andrew and Peter had a very high likelihood of either living in this house, or of knowing the owner intimately. This trip has the constant effect of opening my eyes to little details that make the stories in the Bible make more sense. The fisherman of the New Testament weren’t a bunch of illiterate hicks. They were businessmen, and even though they might have gone around barefoot at times, they weren’t stupid. While we were there, we talked about how the Lord doesn’t call stupid people. He qualifies those he calls, but we have to make the most of what we have been given.
Meditations on food.
Sack lunches = interesting.
We all spent a little time analyzing our sandwiches… the peanut butter and jelly was good, but the jam-to-pb ratio was a little off. Especially in relation to the amount of bread we were consuming. The tuna sandwich was bomb. Mmmmmm. Still don’t know how I felt about the fruit though. I have come to realize that even though the fruit here is typically smaller than the ones that you find in the states, they are much tastier. I still don’t like smooshy apples though. So I wasn’t completely sold.