Today is dedicated to all of my Christian readers, except those of the Laettner variety. Israel is my Jewish homeland, but is very much the Holy Land for Christians as well — for a variety of reasons; but most significantly, as the place where Jesus spent his entire life.
Accordingly, I want to share some pictures and stories from my ventures this morning along the Sea of Galilee, where Rabbi Jesus of Nazereth shared his profoundly influential message during the last few years of his life.
We began at Capernaum, home of Simon (Peter) and a synagogue in which Jesus shared his ministry. Check out the sign on the picture above. The white stone is from a 4th century facility built on top of the dark stone synagogue which dates from Jesus’ time. This landmark shows an extraordinary link between the archeological evidence and the scripture from the New Testament. And across the road lies the ancestral home of St. Peter, upon which different levels of churches have been built over the millennia.
Next, we head to Mount Beatitudes, the site of history’s most important religious speech, the Sermon on the Mount. In the picture above you can witness one of Jesus’s views from his speaking perch. While Israel has developed considerably over the succeeding 2000 years, this nearly pristene landscape survives from ancient times. And you can buy some mean felafel at the Beatitudes concession stand.
Now, over to the Sea of Galilee itself. We stopped to see the Primacy of Peter, the site of the famous “Fish and Loaves” miracle (or, in the Jewish vernacular, “Bagels and Lox”). I stopped to gather some water to be used at the baptism for the child of a good friend. I hope I don’t get too thirsty on the ride home.
Finally, we headed up to the Golan Heights. I drove a Tomcat ATV right up to the Syrian border. Admittedly, this has nothing to do with the New Testament, but I’m always trying to look cool for the RPettes, and since I refused to wear a helmet, I denied my detractors a “Dukakis in the Tank” moment. Anyway, should Jesus have been around in these times, a Tomcat ATC might be the Jeopardy answer to the question: “What Would Jesus Drive?”