Continuing on with our first day in Israel–after having lunch at St. Peter’s Restaurant (fish, of course)–we visited three different churches, all along the Sea of Galilee.
The Church of the Beatitudes is situated on the traditional spot believed to be where Jesus taught the Sermon on the Mount, as well as the feeding of the 5,000. (Matthew 5 and John 6) The church is built on the ruins of a fourth century Byzantine church. The floor plan is octagonal, representing the eight Beatitudes.
Next we visited the Church of the Primacy. The present structure was built in 1933 but incorporates parts of another fourth century church. This is said to be the area where Jesus cooked fish for the disciples after His resurrection and where He told Peter to feed His sheep.
Inside the Church of the Primacy is a stone table–Mensa Christi or Christ’s Table. This is supposedly the spot where Jesus laid out the breakfast for the disciples. Somehow I’ve never pictured a table there on the beach, limestone or not. I prefer to just look here at the beach:
And imagine Peter jumping out of the boat to swim to Jesus where He had built a fire, ready to cook the fish for the disciples’ breakfast. (John 21)
One more church:
The Church of the Multiplication or the Church of the Loaves and Fishes
Underneath this table is another stone table purported to be where Jesus fed the 5,000. Though unlikely this was the very spot where this miracle took place, the church is also built on the ruins of fourth and fifth century churches. The floor is a Byzantine mosaic (notice the fish and loaves) built in the fifth century.
Though we can’t know the exact location of where Jesus fed the 5,000 or cooked on the beach, we do know this is the area–on the shores of the Sea of Galilee–and can easily imagine Jesus walking, talking, and cooking here.
It’s been a week since our return from Israel, and I’m getting back into my normal routines. “Normal” includes writing and preparing the devotion for a ministry on Sunday. But, I have loads of pictures to share from our trip, so I will get started NOW!
Our first two days were spent in Galilee and our hotel was set on the Sea of Galilee. I have to admit, I probably have way too many pictures that look mostly the same but they are all beautiful! Don’t worry–I’m only going to show you the best of the best.
Airport picture. When you’re both excited and relieved to finally land.
View of the Sea of Galilee from our hotel window.
Early morning on the Sea of Galilee.
Going for a boat ride.
City of Tiberias as seen from our boat.
Later, we visited Mt. Arbel. The road here would have been used by Jesus as he traveled back and forth from Capernaum to Nazareth.
Notice the caves? The Jews probably hid here from the Greeks and Romans at different times.
This covers the first part of our first day. I know–Looking back now, I’m amazed at how much we saw just on our first day.
More later! Shalom!
What first grabbed me about Crossing the Waters is the subtitle: Following Jesus through the storms, the fish, the doubt, and the seas. Fields, originally from New Hampshire, married a fisherman in Alaska changing her life completely as they built a house on a small island, raised children and caught fish. Not sugar-coating anything, Fields shares her own struggles as a wife, mother, and a disciple of Jesus. She retells the stories of Jesus and the fishermen He called to be His disciples. Most of her experiences come from fishing in Alaska, but she also retraces Jesus’ steps around and on the Sea of Galilee.
Reading again of Jesus walking on the stormy water or waking from a deep sleep to calm the sea through the eyes of someone who has been on stormy waters, both literally and figuratively, gave me a new appreciation for the experiences of the disciples and the awesome power of our God.
Favorite quotes: “They are believing in their fear of the deep more than in Jesus. They do not yet know that he is with us wherever we are, that he will even walk on water in the middle of the night in a storm to come to us . . .”
“Jesus has not come to save them from the waters–death is not the enemy–but to save them from unbelief and their still small faith.”
Fields has written an enjoyable, thought-provoking book helping us to reconsider what Jesus meant when He said, “Come, follow me.” This is a book I highly recommend and am sure I will read again.