Israel-Day Four

Jordan River

We started out the day at the North of the Sea of Galilee seeing the Jordan River.  It is fed by three springs, including the Dan and Banias springs which come from the snowfall on Mt. Hermon.  Namaan was supposedly baptized here, in contrast with John the Baptist who baptized just north of the Dead Sea.  The Sea of Galilee is like a good human being…they receive and give, but the Dead Sea is not…they receive but do not give.

Jordan River (Headwaters)

Bethsaida “House of Fishermen”

Next was Tel Bethsaida, where five of the disciples came from (Peter, Andrew, James, John, Philip).  The name was afterwards changed to be named Julius, after the wife of Caesar Augustus.  When Peter got married, he moved to Capernaum (only a few miles away) to live with his mother-in-law (figure that out)!  Bethsaida was located in the Golan, part of the territory of Philip, Herod’s son.  This means Jesus could easily pass out of the strict Roman-controlled area by simply crossing the Jordan.  This town was definitely pagan.  It was located a short distance away from the sea, but the sea was easily accessible by lagoons that appear no longer.  It is known that the Zebedee family stayed here for 100s of years after the crucifixion.
The miracle of the blind man was performed here.  Jesus did it outside the city, telling the man not to tell anyone so his ministry was not hindered.  House roofs of this city (as with all) were made of river reed and mud.

Beit-Saida (Bethsaida) Today

Mount of Beatitudes “Statements or Teachings”

There is a lot of mustard seed that grows here, as well as wheat, and a thorny tree called the “Zizipus Christi” that could have been used for Christ’s crown.  The hillside created a natural amplitheater where many could hear at once.  We hiked down the mountain, and at the bottom we visited the seaside where Peter was asked “Do you love me” three times.  This area is just east of Capernaum.  Right to the west of the shore was Tabgha, where Jesus fed the 5,000.

From the Mt. of Beatitudes

Capernaum “Relaxation”

Capernaum is the city mentioned most in the NT.  It has 16 mentions.  Here, it is noted that the synagogues replaced the temple, which is evident in the quite large one still partially standing today.  Since it replaced the temple, it would have a high place (altar), and an ark with a lamp above.  Peter’s house was found with an original basalt (black) floor.  It was a “home church” that was eventually expanded several times to preserve the memorial.  Now there is a church build over top of it.  Rooms of the town were small because the roof was only as big as the beams used to make it…which was river reed, relatively short.  In the synagogue, a 5th century structure (Part at least) still stands today, on top of the original 1st century basalt foundation.  It must have been a large baking center, as several dozen millstones have been found.  The city was destroyed in the 7th century, but a 6 mill. dollar treasure was left here by the Muslims.
Some things in the city:  1) Imperial milestone from Hadrian, 2) Minorah (candlestick) carving in a pillar, 3) table of showbread carving in a pillar, 4) Water basins, and 5) Hebrew inscription.
We ate lunch at Capernaum, at a fish restaurant.  Some ate Tallapia, I ate chicken kabobs (I hate fish).

Synagogue At Capernaum

Magdala  “Place of the Tower”

We did not actually visit it, although we somewhat saw it.  This is the hometown of Mary Magdalene.

The Arbel Pass

We did not climb up, but it was VERY beautiful from the ravine.  It is located on the SW side of the Sea of Galilee, it was the main road to Jerusalem from Galilee.  Jesus would have come through it many times.

Looking up to the top of the Arbel pass


Tel Kinnerot—not inhabited at the time of Christ
Ginnesaret—where Jesus landed after walking on water.
Ginosar—where a 1st century boat has been found and carefully restored.  We took a reconstruction of this boat from Ginosar to Tiberias, where we landed then ate pizza in downtown.

Original 1st Century Boat

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