This day really could not have been any better. (BTW, it is amazing what a shower and a good night’s sleep can do for the body and mind.)
We woke up to an amazing view from our room looking directly out over the Sea of Galilee. The Jesus boats were already out and I this we counted five at one time.
After typical Israeli breakfast fare (including pickled fish, cheeses, bread, coffee, and juice) we left headed out for a Kibbutz housing the famed “Jesus boat” was located. This boat, found in the muck and mire of the Sea of Galilee, is scientifically dated as 2,000 years old and is of the type of boat used by fishermen of that time. In other words, Jesus may have actually used this boat at some time with His disciples.
From that point, our entire team sailed on the Sea of Galilee on a boat, all they while singing songs, praising the Lord, reading Scripture and praying for God’s people to come to know Jesus and to return to their home, Israel. Our blessing on this ride was the worship singing of our boat captain, a Messianic Jew.
Next stop was the area known as Peter of the Primacy where Peter is thought to have uttered many of his famous statements, including his discourse with Jesus regarding whether Peter loved Him or not.
We traveled from there to the fishing village of Capernaum, home of Peter’s mother and ancient city, including the remains of both that city and its synagogue (which is built on top of another synagogue that was probably visited and taught in by Jesus Himself. I especially enjoyed the old synagogue and its fascinating structure.
We then went back to the kibbutz where we enjoyed lunch and a little shopping. Again, Cheri and I had falafel and schwarma. Additionally, I had Turkish coffee which is tremendously strong and grainy (thus causing one to need to brush his teeth afterwards.)
After lunch we went the Church of the Beatitudes where Jesus preached and taught His Sermon on the Mount. Here Pastor Jerry, Pastor Chris, and I read the sermon on the Mount to our group. This was a great time of introspection as we each sought God’s particular word for us.
From there, we headed for the River Jordan where Pastor Jerry and I baptized 17 members (of our 23 member team.) this was an awe-filled moment for me as I participated with men and women who are my friends and as I saw the Holy Spirit strum the strings of their hearts.
We capped off the day with typical Israeli Dinner fare and a casual ten-minute stroll to Tiberius and a street bazaar there.
I was met with one thing that I did not particularly want to hear: God reminded me that it is not His desire for me to live in Israel; it is His desire for me to love His people, see the come into His Kingdom, and see them return to Israel.