BaniasWe drove to the northernmost part of Israel to the foot of Mount Hermon on the Golan Heights bordering Lebanon and Syria where we came upon the archaeological and nature preserve site of Banias, also referred to as Paneas and Caesarea Philippi. One of the features is a large cave-like grotto dedicated to the Greek god Pan. There is a spring seeping from the bedrock that is one of the sources of water that feeds the River Jordan and subsequently, the Sea of Galilee. According to the Gospels, this is the area where Jesus asked His disciples, "Whom do men say that I the Son of Man am?" A woman from Paneas, who had been bleeding for 12 years, is said to have been miraculously cured by Jesus.
|A Roman column among the ruins in Banias. On the background the grotto dedicated to the Greek god Pan|
Cruising the Sea of GalileeGoing back towards Tiberias, our next stop was a cruise on the Sea of Galilee on one of the wooden boats typical of those used during Jesus' time. We get to see the place where Jesus ministered from the lake looking all around the Galilean region where Jesus worked. His most dramatic miracles occurred on the waters of the Sea of Galilee where He stilled the storm and walked on water. After His resurrection, He cooked breakfast on the shore for seven of His disciples.
After the cruise, we visited the museum of the Jesus Boat, a boat dated to 1 AD unearthed from the mud in 1986 along the shores of the Sea of Galilee and very likely in use during the time of Jesus. .
|Cruising on the Sea of Galilee on a wooden boat|
Tabgha - Church of the Multiplication
For lunch, we had a fish called "St. Peter 's fish" which I found very tasty. After, we went to Tabgha, on the shore of the Sea of Galilee to visit the church commemorating the site of the miracle of multiplication where Jesus fed 5000 people with 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish. Featured in the church is a mosaic of the fish and loaves honoring the miracle..
|Mosaic of Fish and Loaves in the Church of the Multiplication in Tabgha|
Mount of Beatitudes
The octagonal Church of the Beatitudes is situated atop the Mount of the Beatitudes, overlooking the Sea of Galilee. This is where Jesus is said to have preached one of His greatest sermons or teachings, The Beatitudes.
"Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are they who mourn,
for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
for they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they shall be satisfied.
Blessed are the merciful,
for they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed are the pure of heart,
for they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they shall be called children of God.
Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."
Gospel of St. Matthew 5:3-10
|The Church of Beatitudes|
Tabgha - The Church of St. Peter's Primacy
Back to Tabgha, after visiting the Mount of Beatitudes, nearby the Church of the Multiplication is the Church of St. Peter's Primacy (Mensa Christi - Table of Christ) - the spot where Jesus appeared for a third time after His resurrection and appointed Simon Peter to the office of the Primacy.
|The entrance to the Church of St. Peter's Primacy|
An archaeological site found along the shores of the Sea of Galilee, Capernaum was a fishing village and is said to be where St. Peter's house is located. A modern church can now be found on top of the ruins of what is traditionally believed as St. Peter's house. In the town, ruins of a synagogue and other structures from the Roman period. can be seen. This town was the center of Jesus' ministry and teachings after He left Nazareth. Here, Jesus healed St. Peter's mother-in-law and a Roman centurion's servant, cured a leper and brought a child back to life.
|Entrance to synagogue in Capernaum|
Next: Watercolor Travel Journal- Sketches from the Holy Land Part 3 - Tiberias to the Dead Sea