Greetings Love of Christ Faith Community!
It was another beautiful day in the Northern area of Galilee! Today we had several stops, each one with different aspects of Jesus’ Galilean ministry. The Sea was calm and the sun was shining as we were driving close to the shore of this important area of trade and fishing in the first century world. One of our stops today was to visit the Mt. of Beatitudes (Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 5, 6,7) This was breathtaking and one could easily imagine Jesus speaking on the mountain side to the crowds of people. We heard a reading from Matthew 5:1-12 and then shared in communion. Not far from there is the place where Jesus fed the 5,000 with five barley loaves of bread and two fish. (We are not sure of the exact spot but it is close to where he and the crowds were.) This too was a remarkable scene as we pictured the crowds around Jesus as he was teaching and feeding thousands of people both spiritually as well as physically. Our tour guide helped us notice that in John 6 when Jesus is feeding the 5,000 the fragments that were gathered up were only the bread as the fish they would have discarded. Something I had never considered.
I was personally surprised today by the beauty and information given at the archeological site of Mary Magdalene and the newly discovered synagogue. This synagogue was found in 2009 when they were digging to build a hotel. When they had dug as far as 12 feet under ground the diggers uncovered some ruins. What they found was a synagogue that had many things in place. They uncovered the purifying water and pools. Archeologists have also found the seat in which the Torah would be read with carvings on it that showed how they were very intentional about following God’s laws. It was easy to use one’s imagination to visualize Jesus spending time there teaching. There was also a beautiful church that had a unique altar in the shape of a boat. (See picture below.) This church also had several tile scenes that had been created by a Mexican artist that depicted different scenes from Jesus’ ministry in Capernaum. This discovery was about 40 yards from the Sea of Galilee. Another breathtaking scene.
Altar in the Magdala's Chapel
Tomorrow we wrap up our Tiberias part of the tour and then we will be staying in Bethlehem and touring the Old City of Jerusalem as well. Mark and I can’t believe how quickly the days are passing.
Praying that all is well with all of you in Mesa. May God’s mercies be upon you.
Pastor Nanette and Mark