Holy Land Wanderings Thursday

This is our first “full” day in the Holy Land. We arrived close to three yesterday afternoon and after a rather uneventful walk through customs we were warmly greeted by our tour guide welcoming us to Israel. Outside of sleep depravation and travel wearies all of us are well.
We boarded a bus that took us to our hotel (which was more than a two hour winding drive) situated on the coast of the Sea of Galillee. By the time we arrived it was dark and so all we could really appreciate was the clean conditions of our room. Following a delightful meal of various salads, humus, and grilled meats, and a brief meeting (can you believe I actually have brief meetings?) we all stumbled to our rooms. While I cannot speak for the others, I slept soundly until our wake-up call at 6am. I do know that a few among our group have not quite adjusted to the travel and spent a good portion of the night watching reality TV shows in Hebrew.

What a view – my room overlooks the Sea, which is surrounded by gently rolling hills. The Sea itself is dotted by fisherman plying their trade according to 21st century methods! Speaking of the Sea of Galilee, it is not really a sea at all, but a large fresh water lake about 750 feet below sea level. The weather here is absolutely outstanding – temperatures in the 70s and bright sunshine.

Breakfast included a variety of yogurts, cheeses, eggs, breads and fish. Since most places are kosher, the dietary restrictions prevent serving dairy products with meat. Fish is the exception (which I still do not understand after all these years). There were plenty of fresh fruits, olives and dates as well as coffee and juices. We will not starve on this tour.

Today we visited sites all around Galilee, also know as Lake Tiberias. In Hebrew it is called Kinnert because it is shaped like a kinnor or harp. Our first stop was at the modern church commemorating the Beatitudes. While not a “historic” location, it is provides a striking perspective of how it may have looked when Jesus uttered words of peace, mercy and comfort to the crowds. Next we visited Kibbutz Ginosar and saw a resortred first century “Jesus boat” which was discovered in 1986. We then made our way to Capernaum, the hometown of Jesus’ ministry and works.

Just before lunch we took a private boat ride across the Sea of Galilee and stopped mid-point to reflect, sing and pray. Rev. Darwin Caldwell, Carla Burrow’s father, read to us from Mark chapter one, and Keith Burrow led us in singing. It was a welcome pause in our busy morning.



We dined along the Sea on St. Peter’s fish (it looked like bream to me) and were treated to Turkish coffee afterwards. We filled the afternoon with a visit to Tabgha, the location of the multiplication of fishes and loaves and a visit to the Jordan River.


While at the River Jordan Bok Bemis came prepared to be bapized but I did not prepare to do the baptizing! Not to worry, because I learned you can rent a robe. Wayne Koon also thought this a good idea so we entered the chilly waters of the Jordan and held a baptism service. I hope to be able to post some pictures tomorrow.


Soon we will have our dinner and a bit of quiet time for the evening. Several of us plan to walk along the town center of Tiberias and see the sites. It has been a full and good day.

Peace be with you.


  1. I am moved by the baptism pictures. Never underestimate the power of an image.

  2. Wish I were there, Greg. Sounds fantastic. (Just some guy in Atlanta)

  3. Enjoyed reading your blog and looking forward to the next ones. Tell Judy & Jill they look like they are taking it all in while on the boat.

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