Rector’s Blog Nov 14: The Sea of Galilee

I have come down with a cold these past couple of days and am not feeling 100%. Which hasn’t completely stopped me from enjoying the day. This morning we left early for the Sea of Galilee, which is a couple hours from Jerusalem. Fun fact, it is really a fresh water lake. We have been to Capernaum and Bethsaida today, which are respectively the second and third most referenced places in the New Testament after Jerusalem.

Together with a place called Corozin, Capernaum and Bethsaida make up what is called the ‘gospel triangle.’ This was the heart of where Jesus did his ministry. It wasn’t to urban areas, but towns and villages, a number of which are in the area I am in now.

We spent some time in Capernaum, hearing scripture about healings such as Jairus’ daughter and the Centurion’s servant. They have discovered a first-century village there, which could be the place of Peter’s mother in law, who is also healed by Jesus. There are remains of a synagogue there as well, that was built on the site of a first century synagogue. This is a place would have been where Jesus did a lot of teaching.

We were also in Bethsaida, where Andrew, Philip and Peter were from. “Bethsaida” means “house of fish.” They were fishermen, so this makes sense. Bethsaida is where at least one of the tellings of the loaves and fishes story is set, so we read and remembered that story as we ate our lunch at a park overlooking the Sea of Galilee.

Finally, we went to Kursi, the site commemorating the story of Jesus healing a man with demons and sending them into a herd of swine. There are remains of a Byzantine monastery there. The views of the lake are absolutely beautiful from that spot. We did some reflecting on Jesus going from Capernaum to Kursi, literally the other side of the lake, and what it means for Jesus to encounter the other.

Then we got to the guesthouse we are staying in until Sunday, which is run by German Benedictines. Kate and I walked over to the church for Vespers, which was lovely. Chanting monks transcend language, so even though we couldn’t understand the words we could get the gist of the service.

Tomorrow we are going to Caesarea Philippi, which is where Peter names Jesus as the Christ.