Day 4: Sea of Galilee, Magdala, Rosh Pina, Mt. of Beatitudes

I’m here documenting a unique Christian pilgrimage to the holy land with Ecclesia Houston guided by Breaking Bread Journeys. I hope you’re enjoying my photo-journal of our experiences. After our breakfast at the U Boutique Kinneret Hotel with the breathtaking view of the western shore of the Sea of Galilee, we embarked upon a boating excursion where our guide David took us out on the waters. Pastor Chris Seay shared with us from the account of Matthew’s Gospel describing Jesus walking on the water and Peter’s struggle with his faith to follow Jesus onto the water.

We then headed to an archaeological site called Magdala, the site of at least two places in ancient Israel mentioned in the Jewish Talmud and possibly a location mentioned in the Christian New Testament. They have discovered an ancient Jewish Synagogue which would have been active during Jesus’ time. Pastor Chris told us it is almost 100% certain that Jesus would have visited this Synagogue. A church is also located at the site with a beautiful view of the lake and very impressive and inspiring murals and artwork throughout. The discovery at Magdala is said to be on par with the Dead Sea Scrolls in historical importance.

After a much-needed afternoon break at our beautiful hotel property, we enjoyed an wonderful meal at a local French Restaurant, the Auberge Shulamit, in the town of Rosh Pina on the northern side of the Sea of Galilee. The owner personally introduced us to the menu and helped serve with a very friendly staff.

After dinner Pastor Chris led the group in an after-hours visit to the Mount of Beatitudes where he read us the entire Sermon on the Mount at the location it is traditionally believed to have been preached by Jesus. It was an unforgettable evening standing there listening to our pastor read what is regarded as the most famous sermon of all time, near what would have been the spot that Jesus shared it almost 2000 years ago. I’ll share some of the beginning verses of this beautiful and timeless message here:

Blessed are the spiritually poor—the kingdom of heaven is theirs.
Blessed are those who mourn—they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek and gentle—they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness—they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful—they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are those who are pure in heart—they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers—they will be called children of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness—the kingdom of heaven is theirs.

Magdala, Sea of Galilee, Villa Harte, Auberge Shulamit, Mount of Beatitudes

After breakfast we headed to an active archaeological site called Magdala, the site of at least two places in ancient Israel mentioned in the Jewish Talmud and possibly a location mentioned in the Christian New Testament. They have discovered an ancient Jewish Synagogue which would have been active during Jesus’ time. Pastor Chris told us is almost 100% certain that Jesus would have visited this Synagogue. A chapel is also located at the site with a beautiful view of the lake.

Day3-1Day3-2Day3-3Day3-4Day3-5Day3-6Day3-7Day3-8Day3-9Day3-10Day3-11Day4_Galilee-5

We then embarked upon a boating excursion on the Sea of Galilee where our guide showed us how fishing was done in the time of Jesus. Pastor Chris Seay shared with us from the account of Matthew’s Gospel describing Jesus walking on the water and Peter’s struggle with his faith to follow Jesus onto the water. The sunny but hazy conditions created for some interesting light for photography.

Day3-12Day3-13Day3-14Day3-15Day3-16Day3-17Day3-18Day3-19Day3-20Day3-21Day3-22Day3-23Day3-24Day3-25Day3-26Day3-27Day3-28Day3-29Day3-30Day3-31Day3-32Day3-33Day3-34Day3-35Day3-36Day3-37Day3-38Day3-39Day3-40Day3-41Day3-42Day3-43Day3-44Day3-45Day3-46Day3-47Day3-48Day3-49Day3-50Day3-51Day3-52Day3-53

Next we made our way to lunch at the Villa Harte restaurant with its gorgeous overlook of The Sea of Galilee. The restaurant is situated above a small beach that has spring-fed pools at its shore. We enjoyed the beautiful scenery and were surprised to see schools of fish coming right up to the water’s edge.

Day3-54Day3-55Day3-56Day3-57

Later we enjoyed an extravagant meal at the Auberge Shulamit where the owner personally introduced us to the menu and helped serve with a very friendly staff. It was a great experience with a beautiful view of the Sea of Galilee and all several local towns lit up along the shore.

Day3-58Day3-59Day3-60Day3-61Day3-62Day3-63

After dinner Pastor Chris led the group in an after-hours visit to the Mount of Beatitudes where he read us the entire Sermon on the Mount at the location it is traditionally believed to have been preached by Jesus. The night sky was very clear and the moonlight was abundant. It was an unforgettable evening.

Day3-64Day3-65Day3-66

Ecclesia with Breaking Bread Journeys: Mount of Beatitudes, Sea of Galilee

Continuing our tour with Breaking Bread Journeys, we left Nazareth and headed to Cana (see previous post for this morning’s wedding). Next we went to the Mount of Beatitudes overlooking the Sea of Galilee; this was the site where Jesus delivered his famous Sermon on the Mount. Pastor Chris Seay read us the sermon in its entirety while the group meditated in silent reflection. We learned that the Sea of Galilee is actually a lake— in fact, the world’s lowest fresh water lake, well below sea level. We then enjoyed a lakeside lunch where many of the group tried the locally famous St. Peter’s Fish, followed by a walk at water’s edge. Afterward, we embarked upon a boat ride on the Sea of Galilee. A highlight for the group: the captain cut the engines and we floated quietly on the windswept waters for a few minutes as we prayed in silent meditation.

Galilee-1Galilee-2Galilee-3Galilee-4Galilee-5Galilee-6Galilee-7Galilee-8Galilee-9Galilee-10Galilee-11Galilee-12Galilee-13Galilee-14Galilee-15Galilee-16Galilee-17Galilee-19Galilee-20Galilee-22Galilee-21Galilee-23