Pictures from Day 6: The Kinneret and Capernaum

And what happened to day 5, you may ask. Shabbat happened :-). It was glorious to slow down, rest, and fellowship. I do love that part of my week!

But we keep going, and we are at the mid-point of the tour. We left Jerusalem and headed to the Galilee region, or the Kinneret, as I explained in the Galilee post here. I have pictures of the explanation of an ancient boat that was dated more than 2,000 years ago, you can walk with me on that journey (right-click on the image and open in a new tab to see the full size – you’ll be able to read the story).

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We got to sail on the Kinneret – that was special, as you will see. We started the journey with the Hatikvah, the Jewish national anthem. It means the hope, and it’s a very moving song, even if you don’t understand the words. Here you go.

Being on the water was incredible. Pictures can only barely touch the amazing experience.

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I relayed in the post mentioned above that Hillsong United recorded the song Oceans there. The boat owner played it for us, and I was undone. I can’t upload my recording due to copyright restrictions, but here’s the Hillsong version again. The boat that you see is the boat that we were on.

After that was Capernaum and seeing the Galil valley from up high. What a wonderful close to our day, seeing the Kinneret from our hotel room!

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The Golan Heights

Sunrise over the Kinneret; view from our room

Sunrise over the Kinneret; view from our room

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was a very long day, and we had to get up stupid early in the morning, but with a view like this, I wasn’t in too bad of a humour. We headed up to the Golan Heights to do our touring today. From one of the points, we were surrounded by the Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon. Imagine living in an area where all of your neighbors want to kill you and take your land… Anyway, though we didn’t go to Mount Hermon, the highest point in the Golan Heights, we did go up pretty high on windy roads though the mountains. Again, you can see pictures at the Joined to Hashem site until I’m able to post my own photos.

There was a lot, and I’m suffering the syndrome of drinking from a fire hydrant. Our first stop at the Peace Vista, we looked down on the 1967 border. We could look at the Decapolis cities (think the demoniac from the Gadarenes), and where many of the accounts of Yeshua happened. From there, we could could really see, really get a sense of how small Israel is. If you remember, Israel is in a drought – 3 rivers converge into the Kinneret, and they happen to lead the world in waste water reclamation.

We went on from there to Gamla. We stopped at a nature preserve, and are where they are bringing back almost extinct vultures, and sat and heard about what we were looking at. Gamla means camel, but also large rope (look at Matthew 19:24 with that in mind). The Jewish historian talked about Gamla, but didn’t know if it really existed. After 1967 when Israel reclaimed the land, they began to map out the land, a surveyor happened to look over from where we were and saw a mountain that looked like a camel, and realized he found Gamla, and they began to dig. Now, I didn’t know the story of Gamla, so I will add a brief summary that you should inspire you to look further. For those who know about Massada, this was before that, and it was more intense.

In 66 C.E. Gamla turned rebellious under the influence of refugees from other locations. It was one of only five cities in the Galilee and Golan who stood against Vespasian’s legions, reflecting the cooperation between the local population and the rebels. At the time of the revolt, the town minted its own coins. Bearing the inscription “For the redemption of Jerusalem the H(oly)” in a mixture of paleo-Hebrew (biblical) and Aramaic, only 6 of these coins have ever been found.

Josephus also provides a detailed description of the Roman siege and conquest of Gamla in 67 CE by components of legions X Fretensis, XV Apollinaris and V Macedonica. The Romans first attempted to take the city by means of a siege ramp, but were repulsed by the defenders. Only on the second attempt did the Romans succeed in breaching the walls at three different locations and invading the city. They then engaged the Jewish defenders in hand-to-hand combat up the steep hill. Fighting in the cramped streets from an inferior position, the Roman soldiers attempted to defend themselves from the roofs. These subsequently collapsed under the heavy weight, killing many soldiers and forcing a Roman retreat. The legionnaires re-entered the town a few days later, eventually beating Jewish resistance and completing the capture of Gamla.

According to Josephus, some 4,000 inhabitants were slaughtered, while 5,000 threw themselves down a ravine to escape capture.

We went on to Mount Bental, which looks over Syria, where we heard of the miracles of the 1967 and 1973 wars. 1967, the Golan Heights were liberated by Israel, and immediately began preparing for the next war. Unfortunately, Israel was resting on their laurels and ignored the signs of attack until either hours before or the day before, depending on sources. So the Egyptians and Syrians attacked on Yom Kippur, and there were 1600 Arab tanks against 160 total in the Israeli army. During one section of time, there were only about Israeli tanks holding back 600 Arab ones. They were cruising and advancing, and the Syrian army suddenly stopped. When they were captured, they asked why they didn’t go on, and the said they saw and army of soldiers of light, angels, and they had to stop.

While we were there, you could here shots in the distance, and it was explained that there were constant fighting – within Syria – and no one ever says anything. It’s when things happen in Israel that it turns into an international incident.

We went on to Tel Dan, which was the first tribe that was lost. We saw the old city gates, and talked once again about when the kingdoms split; this was the other site where the idol alters were set up to draw the house of Israel away from the true worship at Jerusalem. We headed back to the hotel, then took a stroll off the boardwalk before preparing to head to the south. It’s been an exciting and full day. And it was evening and then it was morning, day 7!

Galilee and the Jordan River Valley

So, we left the Jerusalem hustle and bustle and headed north towards Galilee. Very quickly outside of the city, we met with the desert once again, and began passing through the Jordan River valley. We passed a checkpoint and said “Boker Tov” to nice friendly army soldier with friendly smiles and big guns. We drove by the Kinneret (the Sea of Galilee) as we passed into the region. It is Israel’s single largest reservoir, and it is shrinking at an alarming rate. From living in Austin through the drought and watching the lake levels drop through the years, and just seeing the levels come up this last year, I know a place to pray for rain. Just saying. We touched on Teverya (Tiberius), where we would come back and stay, and went through Migdol, or Magdela. I remember a story or two that may have come from that area, do you?

We visited a place near the Kinneret where and ancient boat from 2000 years ago (more pictures to come, and here’s the link from Joined to HaShem with other pictures), then went a sailing on the sea, around and on which about 90% of the events of the gospels took place. The owner was a Jew who, after taking many people, Christian groups, out on his boat and hearing the message over and over, gave his life to Yeshua, and has been praising and worshipping Him in song ever since. He sang a couple of songs for us, and then he played a recording that Hillsong United did on his boat of Oceans (Where Feet May Fail). As soon as I can, I will upload it; it’s imperfect, with talking in the background, but I will tell you something: that song has always had an impact on me, the story of Peter has always had an impact on me, and listening to that song, sailing over that sea, seeing that story in my mind, and being where I am in life… there are not enough words in any language that I speak to describe the overwhelming sense that I had. I would say that was a defining moment, but I couldn’t define it for you. I kind of was there for the rest of the day. Here is their recording of that moment; again, I will post mine when I can.

The rest of the day to me was a view of beauty and history. We passed the probable places where the miracle of the loaves and fishes happened, and also the mount of the Beatitudes. We went to the temple where Yeshua probably taught. There was a “new temple” (in ruins) there, but underneath, you could see the darker volcanic stones that were from that time period where the original stood. Can you sense how awe inspired I am? As we saw the nature preserve and natural park and a view of The Galil, and heard a description of how lush and green it would be after the rainy season really began, it seemed a very touching and fitting end to our full day. And yet there is still more to come!! And there was evening, and there was morning, day 6!