Let's See What We Can Sea (March 3. 2024)

Waking up on Sunday morning with both of us still feeling the effects of our colds, we made breakfast and decided to buckle up and see a few nearby sites.

From our place it was a quick drive down to where the road hugs the sea. We headed north toward the town of Capernaum, the hometown of Jesus. It was easy to drive and get to as we pulled up to the parking lot. There were only about four other cars there. Normally this place is packed with pilgrims to the Holy Land, and you need to buy tickets in advance. But there was no line and we paid the 20 Shekels to get in (about 8 dollars) and we were only with a few other people in the ruins of Jesus’ home town. Here you could see where homes, places, and markets once stood, but only a two-foot-high remnant of a wall remains. Jesus and his disciples walked and ran the ministry from here. The Synagogue where Jesus taught was very much intact (minus a roof) because it was renovated a few centuries after Jesus. But still, this was the place where He attended, taught, and healed!

“They went to Capernaum, and when the Sabbath came, Jesus went into the synagogue and began to teach. The people were amazed at his teaching, because he taught them as one who had authority, not as the teachers of the law.”  - Mark 1:21-28

Like the people who heard His teaching, I was amazed to be standing in this place! People left little notes and prayers in the walls, much like they do at the “Wailing Wall” but these were prayers to Jesus.

Next, we went to a special spot that a church was built on, (but has since been removed). It was a modern church over the site believed to be Peter’s house. You can walk under the new church and peer right over and into Peter’s home. The walls are nearly as tall as they were in the 1st century but no roof or covering. We then went inside the church and in the middle of it a glass floor reveals a glimpse right from above. A very simple home for a fisherman who would go on to become a fisher of men. Afterwards, Sandi and I sat by the shore and enjoyed the cool northward breeze. Of course, we picked up a few rocks and put them in our pockets! We stayed for a while just thanking God for this time. Walking and seeing where Jesus lived was a big deal and it felt special to be in this place.

We got back in the car for a quick ride uphill to the Mount of Beatitudes. We followed the directions and when we reached it the gate was closed. Once again there was no one there. It became clear by now that very few people, if any, are visiting Israel right now. There was a small sign on the gate with admission hours, so we dove up to it to read it. We started to read the hours when the gate just opened! We looked at each other and then proceeded to drive in. We swung into the empty parking lot and got out of our car. We started to walk onto the grounds noticing the rail doors of the souvenir shop and refreshment stand closed and locked. We began to walk through the gardens with quotes from the sermon on the mount, more specifically the beatitudes portion. The place where Jesus gave his great sermon is now a church but outside at the base of the church right in “front” facing the Sea is a palm tree. As we made our way around the church to the palm tree, this was probably the closest place outside to where Jesus might have been during that sermon. I stood there and the winds picked up and blew straight to us from the Sea to this most northern part of Galilee. As a recording engineer, it dawned on me that if Jesus stood with His back to the sea, with a wind like that, His words would carry for quite a distance with the help of that wind. Sound is a waveform whose energy is transmitted by the colliding of air molecules in that waveform. If the wind is blowing in the same direction of that energy wave, it will be carried further with more energy. This could have been how this “great multitude” could have heard Jesus’ sermon that day.

The passage of Matthew chapters 5-7 are some of my absolute favorites. I once was challenged to read all three chapters once a day for 30 days. I had a great respect for that teaching after that. Sandi and I were amazed that we had this whole beautiful place to ourselves. The grounds are covered with flowers, trees, and sculptures dedicated to, perhaps, the Lord’s greatest sermon.

We headed back down the hill to another small church that was built around the rock that Jesus stood on when He fed the multitude. The stone has natural steps that lead into the church. Inside, the top of the stone stands as an altar for worshipers. Since, again, we were the only ones there. Sandi started singing in the small but reverberating chapel!  Still hard to believe that we were nearly all alone in these wonderful holy places. It’s understandable. There is a war going on right now. We are reminded every night as we hear the constant sound of jet fighters making their rounds throughout this northern region of Israel. Rockets are being fired from Hezbollah (the Islamic militant arm of Lebanon) every day. Israel responds in kind with strategic attacks against Hezbollah leadership. It’s a tense time for all here and it is felt. There are Israeli flags flying everywhere. Giant posters on buildings and freeways cry out “עם ישראל חי” which mean “I am Israel”. But here, on the north coast of Galilee, I feel only peace. As we stepped out of the small chapel, I saw a little plaque attached to the side. It read…

“At Thy Word I will cast down the net” - Luke 5:5

The deeds and miracles of Jesus are not actions of the past. Jesus is waiting for those who are still prepared to take the risks at His word because they trust in His power utterly.”

I don’t know if I have trusted Him utterly. I’m still striving towards Him. But I know that Sandi and I have dropped our nets decided to come here to Israel because we believe utterly that this is His will for us.

We left the shores of Galilee with a lot of gratitude in our hearts, but still stuffiness in our noses! So, we headed back home to cook our dinner and continuing nursing our colds. All in all, this was a great day to remember!


Sandi's Two Cents:

We shared a wonderful Shabbat meal with Carolyn & Richard Hyde on Friday night in Galilee (March 1), then visited the Messianic congregation at Mt. Carmel Saturday morning (March 2). Sunday morning, we toured Capernaum the hometown of Jesus (March 3). For me it was a very moving experience to walk along the shore of The Sea of Galilee where Jesus called his disciples to follow him. We also went through the synagogue where he preached. In Mark chapter 5 it says, “and all who heard him were amazed at His teaching.” The apostle Luke recorded in chapter 4 verse 18 Jesus quoting from Isaiah chapter 61,"The Spirit of the Lord is on Me, because He has anointed Me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” The Bible tells us he then rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down and that the eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him. He said to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” 

To visit this region and speak with missionaries who are bringing the good news of the gospel message of Jesus Christ in the land of Israel was an incredible honor. Whether serving in food pantries or supplying clothes to displaced families because of the war the love of Christ is being shown and it’s truly making a positive impact for God’s kingdom.

Here's our video recap of Capernaum!



Capernaum, Jesus' home town


Synagogue where Jesus preached


Old homes and places of Capernaum


Peter's house


Peter's House from above


Church cat on the church organ getting pets from Sandi


The Mount of Beatitudes


Palm tree near where Jesus stood?


Fish mosaic with loaves of bread in the fountain


Natural step rock goes into the church


Rock on which Jesus feed the 5000


Plaque outside the church

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