Israel Trip – Day 3

I hope you’re not getting bored with these. I’m enjoying sharing them.

Day Three Notes:

Sea of Galilee:

The third day of our trip was a day I will not soon forget! So many things to talk about.

We start out on the Sea of Galilee in the early hours of the morning. The sea is like glass, calm and clear. The day is almost silent. As we sail along the sea the group leaders play worship music over the speaker system on board. The moment is incredibly moving. We are singing, “It is well with my soul” as we pass Tiberias and head toward the Northern region of Galilee. Wow.

During the trip, one of the Pastors begins a devotion on Mark 6. As he talks about the wind working against the disciples and Jesus walking out to them on the waters we all hear a very quiet alarm sound in the North. Incredibly, at this very moment, Syria has launched a drone over Israel territory and the military is acting fast to take it out of the sky. Moments later we hear a loud bomb off in the distance. Then all is quiet. You may have heard about this on the news. We were on the quiet sea as this all happened! Absolutely incredible reminder that in Christ we have peace no matter what noise may be all around us.


Sea of Galilee Museum:

On the shore, we arrive at a Museum that houses a 2000-year-old fishing boat which was discovered in 1976 along the shore. There is a movie describing the immense amount of work it took to preserve and transport the boat. Ironically, the boat contains 12 different types of wood. The main structure is supported by beams in the shape of a cross. Whether Jesus was ever in this boat or not we don’t know. But nonetheless, it is an unreal find.

A Fishing Boat from the 1st Century


Synagogue of Magdala:

Later that day we head to the ancient location of Magdala, the home of Mary Magdalene (not her last name). This is a woman the scriptures describe as the one from whom Jesus drove out 7 demons. She is also the very first evangelist, informing the fearful and discouraged disciples of Jesus’ resurrection. There is an archeological site where a first-century synagogue was discovered. Because of the location of Magdala between Nazareth and Capernaum and its proximity to the Sea of Galilee, there is a tremendous amount of evidence Jesus came to this very place and preached.

Near the dig, the Catholics have built a shrine for the women of the scriptures who helped lead others to faith. In the shrine are 8 columns. Seven are inscribed with the names of key New Testament women. One column has no name. The priest of the shrine explains that this column represents the woman in your life God used to bring you to faith. I think of Cheryl and I’s grandmothers and mothers. I consider our lives so blessed by these great women of Christian faith. The priest asks us to thank them silently and pray for them. For many in the group there are tears of thanks.


Caesarea Philippi:

Next is a stop at a site I’ve been waiting to go to for years. Caesarea Philippi is the location where Jesus asked His disciples, “Who do you say that I am?” and then promises to build His Church “and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” (Matthew 16). In this area is an ancient grotto to the god “Pan”. It is also the site of several ancient religion gods and goddesses. It was believed that this grotto led down to “Sheol” or “hell” in the ancient world. How incredible that Jesus chooses this spot to declare His church triumphant over all the powers of the enemy. 2000 years later, this site is a relic of the past and the Church is global, intercontinental, multi-generational and unstoppable. Amen.


Jordan River (Baptism): 

We stop at the Jordan River for an opportunity to be baptized. It was awesome but I have to tell you just before it happens I get really nervous to be baptized! I kid you not, I have this moment of hesitation and consider backing out. I don’t back out and I do get dipped. God be praised. Let me say this to you who haven’t been baptized yet. I now KNOW how you feel! And now from experience, I can tell you – backing out would have left me with so much regret. Baptism is a great exercise in not letting your FEELINGS dictate your life of FAITH. We don’t walk by what we FEEL, we walk by FAITH. Go for it! The blessing is in obeying.

Hope you enjoyed. Day four tomorrow!