Wednesday, March 21, 2012

4th day of Field Study - Sea of Galilee!! Capernaum! Climbing Arbel!

 We began our day with a boat ride on the Sea of Galilee, the students were climbing aboard and everyone was so excited.
 It was a very hazy day, and you couldn't see much on the shoreline, but we really didn't care, we were boating on the Sea of Galilee, the one that Jesus walked on and sailed on many times. While in the middle of the Sea (actually an 8x13 mile lake), they cut they engines and we were taught about ancient fishing - about the different types of nets they would use i.e. drag nets,  cast nets, and trammel nets, there were all different techniques, which we know that Andrew and Simon, James and John were all well aware of. Capernaum (our next stop) was a huge fishing center - we know that from the number of fishing piers they have found. The water level of the Sea of Galilee is essentially the same as it was in Jesus' day.
 Driving toward Capernaum, we see the Jordan River and how it looks just before it enters the Sea of Galilee at the northern end.
 Here's the entrance to Capernaum, the city where Jesus stayed at Peter's house and conducted much of His earthly ministry from. I love this place.
 There are remains of a synagogue there (photo below) that dates after the time of Jesus, but the black basalt (volcanic) stones you see at the foundation are the ones dated from Jesus' times and are likely stones of the synagogue that He preached in.
 Here's the synagogue remains. The remains of what they think is Peter's house is next to this, with a church built over it.
 This is still at Capernaum, down at the shore of the Sea of Galilee.
We sat down on rocks on the shore, Dr. Wright read scripture, and a hush fell over the group. We literally sat silent for about 15 minutes, most of us praying, listening to the lapping of the water on the shore, meditating on where we were, knowing Jesus spent most of His ministry in this very place.  I did a quick video of this quiet time, so go ahead and listen for yourself:
 Now we are at another city's remains: Chorazim. This Sea of Galilee village is only mentioned once in the NT, in Matthew 11:20.  Jesus rebukes Chorazim as one of the cities that He had done most of His miracles in, but did not believe!  So He must have done a tremendous amount of miracles here, but there's not a mention of one in the Bible. Just knowing He was there was good enough for me.
 Chorazim has good examples of an 'insula', which is the most common New Testament era housing. It is a cluster of several rooms around an open courtyard, usually shared by two or more related families, all under the father's roof. When a son grows up wants to get married, he and his father add a room to the house to prepare for the bride. Do you remember that verse in John 14 where Jesus says "in my Father's house are many mansions", and I go to prepare a place for you, etc.?  That word mansions really means a dwelling place..and what it really means is that the Father and son have added on a room for us to come live, and still be under the Father's roof...pretty awesome!
 I don't know what this is, but we had fun posing for the pic, I am on the lower left.
 Ok, get ready for another scary hike!  The bus drove us up on top of this mountain with cliffs called Arbel, and it overlooks the Sea of Galilee. Our job was to climb down it. I am standing on the top, and see this sign.  I am trying not to get too close to the edge, because it's a straight drop down.
 Of course we had to have class before we begin the climb down. Dr. Wright is using the map to show what we were looking at.  I'm just sitting there twitching, anticipating what is about to happen.
We start walking, and I see this through the crags in the rocks.

 We have hiked for several minutes, when we come upon the sheer drop of a cliff....ok, so this is the hard part.
 All I can say is BLESS whomever put the rope handles into the cliff so I had something to grab when we were going down!! I told Liz, the young girl ahead of me, that I was going to watch her feet and put mine exactly where she did...I concentrated on that and listening to several students cheering me on (they know I don't like heights too much).
Well, praise the Lord, I must be down (whew!! I am sweating!!) because I am taking this picture of where I just was. Wanna see just a little video of it?  Here you go....

It got easier!!  The rest of the climb down was rock/dirt paths and occasional steps, that just kept snaking down the rest of the mountain...I was so relieved to be down the cliff part that this was definitely a piece of cake. I got out my phone and called Michael while I was walking down:)
 Looking up above the path...alot of the students climbed up there(above the path) to check out some caves in the cliff...those were inhabited for centuries.  I didn't feel like climbing back up, I just wanted to keep going down...
Hey, I found my own cave right next to the path that I didn't have to crawl up to get into it.
 Clara is up above me yelling " HEY CHERYL!!!  so I snapped her picture:)
 This is looking down below me, there's family with children on the path ahead of me, working their way down.
 I am all the way down, looking back up at where I was, on top of those cliffs!! I deserve a chocolate ice cream bar! (so I bought one, it cost 12 shekels - about $3, and was worth every penny and every calorie!)
The little stream at the bottom of the mountain, I just love the running water.  We are now finished with our 4 days of field studies (until next time, which is in 1 1/2 weeks - when we go to Jordan!), so we got on the bus and headed back to Jerusalem, my home away from home.

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