Friday, June 22, 2012

Galilee...Part One

The day we visited Galilee began with a three hour drive to a small hill overlooking the Sea of Galilee.  This was the site believed to be where Jesus delivered the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7):
Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down, his disciples came to him.
And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
“Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you. – Matthew 5:1-12

Keep in mind we had been on a bus for three hours…upon arriving at the Church of the Beatitudes, most of us, myself included, made a beeline for the restroom. At the entrance to the restrooms there stood a woman taking 2 shekels for access to the restrooms. I had no shekels and my dad had only paper money in the amount of 50 shekels…conveniently this woman had no change, so I confess, we “stole” a potty. I was a little afraid she might come after us, but we walked on by her…when you need to go, you need to go and one thing I learned in Israel was the importance of taking the opportunity when you had it because you just never knew when you’d have another chance to go. I also had been warned to carry some tissue in my bag just in case a restroom didn’t have any, even though tissue was available in this one, I did use my own tissue to make up for my “stealing” the potty.

After the potty incident our group gathered on the Mount to hear a brief message from our Pastor. Because the church closes midday for a time of quiet they had sent our bus away from the main gate before we finished our visit and message. We were sent out the back gate where we had to hike down the Mount to meet our bus along the shore of the Sea of Galilee. Our tour guide said that we were the first tour group that he knew of to EVER walk down from the Mount of Beatitudes. Walking down the Mount was an unexpected surprise and turned out to be a wonderful experience. To think that we quite possibly stepped in the very same path that Jesus and the original disciples stepped was pretty amazing. The views of the Sea of Galilee and looking back up the hill towards the church were a stark contrast to the desert region we visited the day before.

I think these were banana trees...

Looking back up the hill towards the Church of the Beatitudes...

Drawing near to the Sea of Galilee...

After our hike, we stopped at a Fish Restaurant where we dined on a variety of salads that were typical for most lunch and dinner meals that we had while in Israel.

We were thrilled to have St. Peter’s Fish as our entrée...yep, I ate it.

The restaurant was located directly on the Sea of Galilee and after lunch we had time to play along the shore.  

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