Wednesday, July 17, 2013

NT Day 9: Gospel Triangle

Time for a short boat ride :)
Today we worked ourselves around the northern side of the lake. We started with a boat ride on the Sea of Galilee from the Ein Gev Kibbutz. Rather than crossing the sea this time, we only went part way out for a good view of the coastline. We again discussed fishermen, their lifestyle, and specifically the account of the disciples crossing over the sea when a sudden storm rose up, and they thought they were going to drown. Having been blown "off course", they arrived in the Decapolis at Gergesa. While on the sea, we enjoyed the views and the breeze sweeping across. Interestingly, we had the lake to ourselves: no motorboats, so water skiiing, or canoeing. If Israeli's want to go enjoy the water they head out to the Mediterranean. If anybody of water like this would be located in the inland-states, you could guarantee that there would boats, fishermen, and sports talking place rather frequently. Here however, it is normally as quiet as today.

Mosaic floors in the Byzantine Chapel at Kursi
Upon arriving back at the dock, we headed north to Kursi, the site of Gergesa. Here Jesus met Legion, the man with many demons. Both Vern and Dr. Wright played different angles on the account. Dr. Wright looked at the man though the eyes of being rejected by society, while Vern looked at the man though the eyes of the community - two different, yet compatible views. The site of Kursi was actually discovered while attempting to put in a road through the area. The bulldozers found the site and decided to move the road just a hair north for the site to be excavated. It turns out there was a Byzantine monastery here with guesthouses for pilgrims.

From Kursi we headed further north to Bethsaida. Although most of the remains are post-New Testament, there are a couple homes dated to the first century era – one of which is called the fisherman's house due to fishhooks being found. Josephus tell us that the village was turned into a polis, Roman city. We do find evidence of large walls, but as much "Roman-ance" as one would expect in a "Roman" city.  There is debate as to whether or not this is the site for Bethsaida – especially as it is a mile from the coast.  The best explanation given is that if this is Bethsaida, the town must have had a lakefront fisherman's village as well. In more modern times (1800's) people were still living in mud brick homes down by the coast with storage rooms up in the more fortified city. Assuming something similar for first century would explain the city proper being so far away. Unlike Capernaum and others, Bethsaida's coastline is sandier – not a good foundation for building on the sea. Whether or not this is "Bethsaida," this area would have been home to perhaps five out of the twelve disciples.

At Bethsaida
From Bethsaida, we headed up the mountain to Chorazim. Again, there really is not anything here from the first century, but nevertheless less, we can imagine. Although we do not have any recorded miracles done in Chorazim, we know that Christ visited here frequently. Chorazim and Bethsaida are among the towns Christ curses in Matthew 11:21 "Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works which were done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes." … Wow! What a statement! Perhaps if they had believed, their story would have been so much different.

After lunch at Chorazim, we headed down to Jesus' home-base of Capernaum. Today Capernaum is divided into four sections. We began by visiting the Catholic property with the house of Peter and local Synagogue. Although Peter was originally from Bethesda on the other side of the sea, it appears he moved over to Capernaum with his in-laws. This would have been beneficial to him as any catch brought across the border between Gaulanitis and Galilee to be salted would have been taxed – possibly even Mathew, the tax collector. On one occasion, Jesus heals Peter's mother-in-law while in Capernaum. Peter's house may be located here in Capernaum. It seems early on it was converted into a house church and later the Byzantines added a more formal church around it. Today, a huge church saucer like building sits above the site. Just down the street is the city's synagogue. The visible basalt foundation dates to the first century – perhaps this is the remnants of the church that the centurion built for the Jews. The remainder of the present synagogue dates to a few centuries later. While here I dropped by camera and knocked a screw loose on the lense. Thankfully, I was able to use my phone to take pictures for the rest of the day until I was able to get it fixed temporarily – at least long enough to finish out the week. Anyhow, from here, we headed to the other side of ancient Capernaum where the museum holding the "Jesus Boat" or "Gospels Boat" is kept. Here we watched a video about the discovery of this first century boat (an older version that we watched a couple weeks ago). By the time the boat found its resting place in the mud of the Sea of Galilee, it was already an old boat. The twelve types of wood found signify that it had been fixed many times.

The chapel commemorating the feeding of the five thousand
From here, we headed out to  the site that remembers the feeding of the five-thousand and then walked down the street to the site that remembers Jesus and Peter's conversation after the resurrection, "Peter, do you love?" The scene is elegantly remembered with a small beach and gardens. We departed from here to the north side of the Sea where the Jordan River meets the sea. We had a couple of individuals in the group who had never been baptized, and wanted to make a public declaration in accordance with Scripture. What better place than in the Jordan River itself! We celebrated with Gage and Ashely as they gave their testimony and were baptized. Praise the Lord! What an exciting time to partake. From here, we heeded back south along the eastern side of the sea to Ein Gev for the night. Made a quick jump in the sea, so at least I can say that I have swam with the apostles. The water was comfortable and the waves quite enjoyable. Dinner was again excellent at the hotel, leaving us full and happy for another good night's rests.
Waling to Breakfast at Ein Gev on the Sea of Galilee 

The Sea of Galilee

Looking back toward Hippus (a city on hill)

Looking toward Kursi

Walking toward the Byzantine monastery at Kursi (the sight were Christ
cast out the demons into the swine)

Lecture Time

Walking up toward the remains Byzantine Chapel remembering the sight
of this miracle 

Don't you love helpful instructions. 

Mosaic floor where a small Byzantine chapel used to stand

Look! There is a mosaic under the mosaic ... kind of like re-carpeting one's house :)

Looking toward the cliff where the pigs would have rushed into the sea.

Standing in the Byzantine Monastery / Chapel at the foot of the hill.

Exiting the park

Arriving at Bethsaida

The first century "fisherman's house"

Overlooking the remains of home

Lecture Time ...

Gates at Bethsaida

Hey! I saw that at the Israeli Museum

Looking down the road leaving Bethsaida

Overlooking the "Windgrower's House" from the first century

Arriving at Korazim 

Walking to the city central

Overlooking the remains of houses

An example of an open courtyard

The city synagogue (most of the remains are post-NT) 

Inside the synagogue 

More specialty pieces where the original is in the Israeli

Waling to Capernaum

Jesus' Ministry Base

Wow, they've made a lot of progress on the construction since we were
here last!

Peter's house surrounded by the orthogonal Byzantine Church with a
current Catholic Church hovering over both. 

Every Pillar inside the chapel has wood carving depicting
an episode in the Life of Jesus

Looking down toward Peter's House

The Sea of Galilee from Capernaum 
Arriving at the museum for the "Gospel Boat" - a boat from the first
century. It in all reality had nothing to to with Jesus. Just one similar
to those they would have used in his era. 

Measurements are being taken today for some reason. 

When trying to move the boat, they had to cover it in foam and float it out.
There was no way they could move it my hand without destroying it. 

Model of what the boat may have looked like originally. 

Chapel commemorating the feeding of the 5,000

Mosaic floors

Chapel coutyard
Walking to the beach where it is remembered that Jesus met with Peter
after the resurrection.

Chapel commemorating where Jesus reinstates Peter ...
"Peter, do you love me?"

Can you picture Jesus cooking fish on the sea shore?

Peter, do you love me? ... Feed my sheep. ...

The Jordan River North of the Sea of Galilee

What a great time for a baptize service!

Two collage students in the group had not yet been baptized. What
a perfect opportunity to make one's profession here in the Jordan River!

Sun Setting over the Sea of Galilee

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