To read about our trip from the beginning, start here.
We spent our second day touring around the Galilee region. Once again, we were amazed by the beautiful rolling hills covered in lush vegetation! As we drove along, our guide pointed out to us a valley that Jesus would have most likely walked through. As everything was so new to us (and still is), he helped us connect the places we visited each day. Specifically, just on the other side of the valley between some hills was the town of Nazareth that we had visited the day before. Jesus would have traveled from Nazareth to visit Magdalena and Capernaum and other sites around the Sea of Galilee. This would have been a normal days walk (approx 20 miles…ridiculous to think about now, but that would have been entirely normal during His life!).
Our first stop was to the Mount of Beatitudes. Here, there is a beautiful garden and church, both of which display the beatitudes. We had worship and a message from the pastor on generosity to those around us, as we know with certainty the future for those who believe in Christ, and those who do not (loosely following the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5-7).
Next, we visited Magdala. This site has a very exciting ruin that was only recently discovered, which made visiting it quite special. You can read more about the story here.The main ruin that our group focused on was the 1st century synagogue. Our guide at the site (her name is Mary..from Magdalena…get it ;) ) told us that this is 1 of only 7 1st century synagogues that have been discovered. Additionally, because of its location along the Galilee, it is fairly certain that Jesus would have taught here during his years of ministry in the Galilee region. One of the other components to the ruins relates to the eventual downfall of the village. As this village is near the northern end of Israel, it would have been one of the earlier locations conquered by the Romans. As the archaeologists were digging, they found very clean cut square stones and other round stones that definitely belonged to the synagogue, but they were not with the other synagogue ruins…they were blocking the main road and blocking the entrances to the little shops in the market – in an attempt to keep out the Romans!
We stopped for lunch at this little hole-in-the-wall restaurant, not sure what it is named haha, but I figured I would do like the Israeli’s and have fish by the Sea of Galilee!
We made a few quick stops in the afternoon to see the 2,000 year old boat that was found almost fully preserved in the Galilee at Nof Ginosar (called the “Jesus Boat”), and to see Peter’s Primacy (Matthew 14:13-21, John 21).
Our last stop for the day was to the ruins of the town of Capernaum. Some of the key events here: Matthew 4:13-16, Matt. 4:18-22/Mark 1:16-21, Mark 1:21-34/Luke 4:31-41, Matt. 8:5-13/Luke 7:1-10, and Matt. 8:16-17/Matt. 9:36-38/Matt. 11:23-24/Luke 10:15. This is where Jesus spent almost the entirety of his ministry before heading to Jerusalem. I loved seeing all of the beautifully carved stones in the ruins and the synagogue. We also saw an octogonal building that was a 5th century church, possibly built over the site of the Apostle Peter’s mother-in-law’s house.
And that was the end of the second day! To be continued…
Read about Day 3 here.