Servas Israel Tour – Part III – Places of Spirit: Sea of Galilee, Capernaum, Tabgha, and the Jordan River
Day 4 – Thursday, 25 December 2014 – our wonderful Servas Israel Tour continued.
We traveled to the Sea of Galilee on Christmas Day guided by Iris Salomon- Har Even, host in Oranit.
At 10:00 a.m., we met up at the National Park of Capernaum (Kfar Nahum)
We started at Capernaum (Kfar Nahum), where Jesus lived and began preaching.
“And Jesus, walking by the Sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter and Andrew, his brother casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers.
And He saith unto them. ‘Follow me and I will make you fishers of men'” (Matthew 4:18).
Here by the Sea of Galilee and at Tabgha, I did feel spirituality everywhere: in the air, in the water, in the light – in the religious sites.
On the shore of the Sea of Galilee is a Greek Orthodox monastery:
“The Church of the Twelve Apostles takes its name from the Gospel account of Jesus choosing the Twelve in this area of Galilee.
But it is also known as the Church of the Seven Apostles — a reference to Jesus’ post-resurrection appearance by the Sea of Galilee to seven of his disciples — Simon Peter, Thomas, Nathanael, James and John and two other disciples” (John 21). . . .
After the Six Day War in 1969, when Israel pushed its border back to the Golan Heights, restoration of the church began first with the removal of a thick layer of cow manure covering the floor – since the church had been used for many years as a barn.
Between 1995 and 2000 the church was redecorated by a Greek iconographer with an eclectic array of Byzantine-style frescoes inspired by works in Orthodox churches and monasteries in various parts of the world, in particular the Balkans. The church glows in the light.
A small, cross-shaped building with white walls, the Church of the Twelve Apostles has two central domes surrounded by six smaller ones, each topped by a cross. As you can see, brightly-colored frescoes and icons cover most of the ceilings and walls of the church.
Inside one dome, Christ the Pantocrator (All-powerful) is surrounded by a chorus of 12 prophets who foretold his coming.”
Tabgha (ancient Heptapegon) on the north-western shore of the Sea of Galilee is the accepted site of Jesus’ miracle of the multiplication of the loaves and fishes (Mark 6:30-46) and also of the fourth resurrection appearance (John 21:1-24). Until 1948, it was the site of a Palestinian Arab village.
The site’s name is derived from the Greek name Heptapegon (“seven springs”).
Its pronunciation gradually changed to “Tabego”, and was eventually changed to “Tabha” by the Arabic speakers. St. Jerome referred to Heptapegon as “the solitude.” From: <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tabgha>.
The Chronicle of Pilgrimage to the Holy Land: The Adventures, The Events, The Holy Sites Go to: <http://www.amazon.com/Chronicle-Pilgrimage-The-Holy-Land/dp/965724000X>.
The Church of the Heptapegon – Seven Springs is built over where Jesus laid the fish and the five loafs of bread on a big rock before distributing the food that would feed five thousand (Mark 6:30-44).
However, I loved the views from inside!
Then we saw the Church of the Multiplication at Tabgha – also so named because of Jesus’ miracle. The church is modern but stands on the site of 4th and 5th-century churches. It too preserves splendid early Christian mosaics as well as the traditional stone on which the miraculous meal was laid.
One of the wonderful aspects of this Servas Israel Tour was getting to meet others from around the world.
The Church of the Primacy of St. Peter is north of the Church of the Multiplication and was built on rocks at the shore of the Sea of Galilee. It’s considered the place where Jesus appeared the fourth time after his resurrection (John 21:1-24), during which, according to Catholic teaching, Jesus again conferred primacy of Simon Peter.
Pope John Paul II was a pilgrim to Tabgha in March, 2000.
After a delightful time at these holy places, we next traveled to the Jordan River, the baptism site of Jesus:
My brother Alan said he would’ve done the immersion, but it was December, already getting dark, and I’m a wimp, so I didn’t! However, many Christians braved the cold and were re-baptized in the Jordan River. Many collected water from the river to take home.
Behind schedule on this wonderful day and way after sunset, we said our goodbyes and headed back with our hosts to their homes. On our way to Barry and my Servas home, we got to stop at a fantastic Japanese restaurant: Osaka – Asian Kitchen and Sushi Bar in Ra’anana – wonderful. <https://www.facebook.com/osakarestaurant/posts/552482348116139>.
This day – Christmas Day 2014 – was personally the most spiritual of our Servas Israel Tour. I hope you will get such an experience too.
Shalom and Aloha, Renée