Day 4: Capernaum, Chorazin, Tabgha, Mount of Beatitudes, Ancient Boat (Ginosar), Galilee Boat Ride
We spent today on and around the Sea of Galilee. I have loved our time here. It is such a big, beautiful lake and the surrounding area has a quietness and peacefulness to it despite the tourism. In fact, one of the unexpected blessings of “Covid” has been significantly lower crowds than is typical for the places that we are visiting. Tourism just has ramped up yet. In that sense I feel fortunate for the experience I am getting to have.
We started at Tabgha. It is also called “The Seven Springs.” Fishing is prominent here and it known for being a place where Peter perhaps had his fishing business. Even today it is a great place to go fishing.
Capernaum was our next stop. In many ways, from a tourist point of view, this was the highlight of the day. Though I personally enjoyed being on the Mount of Beatitudes the best, which I will get into in a minute. Capernaum was a wealthy village in Jesus’ day. It was ruled by Rome through Herod Antipas. At Capernaum you see Hellenization represented in the art and architecture; even in the Synagogue. At this sight it was evident that Jewish culture had greatly been influenced by the Greeks.
This is the location where we are told in Mark 1 that Jesus taught on the Sabbath in the Synagogue with authority “not like the Scribes and Pharisees.” We stood in the Synagogue near where Jesus would have taught. This is also where the church started meeting in homes in the earliest days of the church.
The Mount of Beatitudes was so beautiful and peaceful. There are many hills where Jesus could have taught the sermon on the mount in this area of Galilee. But it is gentle rolling hills, wild flowers, mustard plants, and I hadn’t realized that there is such a dramatic view of the lake. The people would have been watching Jesus teach from the hillside with the Sea of Galilee behind him as a backdrop. We read the Sermon on the Mount together in this location.
We took a boat ride on the Sea of Galilee and saw a preserved fishing boat from the time of Jesus. It was cool to be on the lake but also one of the more “cheesy” things we have done. Our captain had recorded Chris Tomlin songs into Hebrew, sang them to us, and then sold his CD’s to a captive audience!
Chorazin was a humbling place. In Matt. 11:30ff Jesus condemns this place for not being willing to repent. He gives strong words saying that if the message he brought here was brought to Sodom and Gomorrah, they would have repented! Chorizim was destroyed in an earthquake in antiquity. We learned a lot about household practices. They people lived together very communally. They didn’t have the privacy that you and I enjoy. I suppose there is good and bad in both ways of life.
We learned and saw a ton of different things on this day; especially about life in the synagogue. My brain hurts!