Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Israel - Day 2

Day 2 may have been my favorite day.  Any time that we spent around the Sea of Galilee was incredible!  We began the day by heading towards a town on the Sea of Galilee called Magdala.  As you probably could figure out, this is the town where Mary Magdalene was from.  It was also the best fishing spot on the Galilee back in those days so most boats ported from Magdala for fishing.


You can’t really see it in the above picture, but that’s the town of Magdala.  See that cliff to the left, then a valley that’s met by another smaller cliff on the right?  That valley is called The Valley of the Doves.  It’s the only logical place where Jesus would have traveled into the Galilee region from other towns.  The Sea of Galilee is literally in a bowl surrounded by mountains on all sides except for this little valley, which would have been the only way to enter.


My fabulous in-laws!  So glad I got to go with them!


I think what I loved most about the Sea of Galilee is that it’s fairly unchanged.  You’ll see in my future posts that when we go to all the other places Christ went, cities and buildings have all been built on top of them.  The Galilee on the other hand has remained for the most part unchanged.  It was breath taking to look at this view and know that Jesus was looking at the exact same thing.  I know now why Jesus loved this Sea so much.


You also can’t really see it, but there’s a very small church in the background of this picture.  It’s called the Church of the Beatitudes and was built on the traditional location for where Jesus gave the Sermon on the Mount.  Which is why my Bible is turned to Matthew chapter 5.  Reading the Sermon on the Mount while looking at where it was taught.  There’s just no words.


Every single day we were on this trip we had communion.  It was so neat to have it at such incredible locations.  The communion for Day 2 was on the boat on the Sea of Galilee.  Awesome.

After leaving the Sea of Galilee, we headed towards the town of Cana.  Cana, if you remember, is where Jesus performed his very first miracle and turned water into wine at the wedding of a distant relative.  The original church was obviously destroyed, but another church was built on top of it’s location and it is GORGEOUS.


Shops were all over the town definitely making a profit off of it’s biblical reference.  All these places sold the Cana wedding wine.


Like I said….GORGEOUS.


Also a beautiful courtyard within the church.


We all went into a small chapel just next to the courtyard and we read the scriptures about Jesus’ first miracle.  After the reading, any couple that was interested in renewing their wedding vows stood up and Don renewed their vows.  Wish Justin was there with me.  We will be married 5 years in July.  That would have been a great way to celebrate it!


Wedding vows renewal


How gorgeous were the streets of Cana!!!


This is where we ate lunch in Cana.  And check out our sweet little tour bus in the background.  That baby was our home away from home :)  As far as food in Israel goes…the pickiest of eaters could eat there!  There was always a chicken option and one day we even had pizza and french fries.  Seriously.

After lunch, we left Cana and headed towards Nazareth, Jesus’ hometown!


This church was ENORMOUS.  I couldn’t even get it all in one picture.


Inside the church is this little cave.  It’s the traditional location for where the angel Gabriel appeared to Mary and told her that she would conceive and that he should be called Jesus.


View outside the church of Nazareth.


Close to where the church is, archeologists found a series of these caves.  These are where the people of Nazareth lived 2,000 years ago.  You couldn’t help but wonder if Jesus walked around these caves and played hide-and-seek with his friends as a boy here. 


Just on the outskirts of Nazareth you see this cliff.  This is where the people of Nazareth tried to throw Jesus off before he was able to get away.  Jesus taught at the synagogue in Nazareth but the people there didn’t receive his message well.  They had known him since he was a boy and refused to believe he had God’s authority as a prophet.  They were so angry that they tried to kill him.  It’s when Jesus said “a prophet will never be honored in his hometown”.


I can’t NOT talk about the cats.  O…..M……G.  Cats were everywhere.  EVERYWHERE.  I imagine this is what it was like in Russia during the Olympics with all the stray dogs.

Always keep in mind what I said in my last post about what our guide told us.  “If it’s not here, it’s near”.  Some of these places have churches built on top of them to memorialize them, therefore the exact location may not be that exact spot, but it is very close.