Mount Arbel to Bethesdia to Korazim to the Jordan River
Started out strong today with what John said is the hardest hike of the trip – especially as the temperature was supposed to reach 107. It’s the hottest it’s ever been in this area since John has been coming here. The hike is 100% uphill with some places so steep there are handholds, so it’s more climbing than hiking. Mt. Arbel is where some Zealots hid out from Herod the Great. He killed them all anyway – it’s a sad story. All the area of the Galilee can be seen from this – the tallest point here.
On the way up the mountain
Then we went to Bethesdia – home of 5 of the 12 disciples and a fishing village (just ruins now). This is the traditional spot (on a nearby hill) of the feeding of the 5000. We also checked out Korazim, a well-maintained ruin site that includes a synagogue. We talked about what it would have meant to be a disciple in that time and how they studied and where chosen. John challenged us simply by asking if we wanted to be disciples of Jesus. Good question.
Room in Korazim
Next was the Jordan River. We talked about how it has played into the Story. When the Israelites moved into the promised land, they were led by men carrying the Ark of the covenant. The text says they actually got into the river before it was held back and the people walked through. Our lesson was sometimes we need to move forward in faith (get our feet wet) before God will show up. We then got in the river which was a relief on such a hot day. We were really challenged in our beliefs about baptism (such a divisive issue anyway) and how the Jews would have probably viewed it. We can talk about that later if you want.
Cooling off in the Jordan
On to the Sea of Galilee. We saw two spots 1) Taghba springs, where Jesus told Peter, James and John to cast their nets on the other side of the boat and they made the large haul – he then told them to follow him 2) the Mount of Beatitudes where Jesus gave his sermon on the mount.
There’s so much taught by John I’m trying to retain just a percentage of it. Plus I’m sleepy. I can tell more when I’m back. Tomorrow – to Nazareth.