Dancing on the Water – February 17

Today is our final day in Tiberias and the Galilee.  We made plans to take a boat ride on the sea with a man named Daniel who owns Galilee Worship Boats.  He was recommended by our friend, Carolyn, as they both are musicians.  He writes his songs in Hebrew and she translates them into English.  Daniel is a native Israeli who is a fisherman and boat pilot.  Many years ago, he came to faith in Yeshua, the Messiah and made his fishing boat into a worship boat.   If you are ever in Israel and want a wonderful sea tour with Daniel, http://www.seaofgalileeworshipboats.com/.

Since there were only three of us, we joined another tour group.  The group was from Stanford Institute, a religious studies school, and comprised of Mormons.  Their tour guide ‘took over’ the boat tour with Scripture readings and hymn singing.  When Daniel finally got to lead the boat events as he should have, the trip was nearly over.  However, he did  show us how one throws a net into the sea to catch fish.  The net is made and thrown in such a way that it leaves the bottom dwellers or unclean fish under the net and catches only the fish with scales.  This is important because according to Leviticus 11, only fish with fins and scales are considered ‘clean’ and food by God.

He talked about when Yeshua had the disciples throw the net over the right side of the boat, they caught 153 fish.  Some scholars believe the significance of 153 was the number of fish species symbolizing that the nations could have relationship with God through Yeshua.  However, Daniel had another interpretation of the 153 fish that comes from the Hebrew language.  Hebrew letters have numerical values.   The letters for the numerical value of 153 spell out “Ani Elohim” or “I AM Elohim.”

John 21:1-14 “Afterward (after his resurrection)Yesua appeared again to his disciples, by the Sea of Galilee. It happened this way: Simon Peter, Thomas (also known as Didymus ), Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples were together.  “I’m going out to fish,” Simon Peter told them, and they said, “We’ll go with you.” So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing. Early in the morning, Yeshua stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Yeshua. He called out to them, “Friends, haven’t you any fish?” “No,” they answered.

He said, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.” When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish…. Yeshua said to them, “Bring some of the fish you have just caught.”  So Simon Peter climbed back into the boat and dragged the net ashore. It was full of large fish, 153, but even with so many the net was not torn. Yeshua said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” None of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord.  Yeshua came, took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish.  This was now the third time Yeshua appeared to his disciples after he was raised from the dead.”

Daniel had a few minutes for his musicians to play their instruments.  He sang one of the songs he had written about the shalom of the Messiah.  For the next song, he took a few moments to teach some Hebrew words:  Kadosh, kadosh, kadosh (holy, holy, holy), Adonai Eloheinu (Lord our God), Tzvaot (Most High), who was, who is and who is to come.  He began singing this beautiful song which just happens to be one that my daughter and I dance to.

This moment became an ‘appointed time’.  We got up from our seats, and in the center of the boat danced to Kadosh. It was an inspirational moment to dance ‘on the sea’ of Galilee with a Messianic Jew singing Kadosh.  Daniel played a few more Hebrew worship songs.  We unloaded the boat to the dock to the song, “Days of Elijah”.

When my daughter and I finished the dance, the tour guide said that she had never seen anything so beautiful.   Another young woman came over to me and said she could feel the worship through the dance and the words.   She asked what ‘Christian denomination’ we were part of and I explained that we do not belong to any denomination.  We are followers of Yeshua, grafted into the Olive Tree of Israel.  I explained that we are not Jewish, but have found blessing in celebrating the Biblical festivals and keeping the Shabbat.  She said that she had never seen anyone dance for worship and believed that using our bodies as living sacrifices should be part of worship.

Joshua 3:8 “Tell the priests who carry the ark of the covenant: ‘When you reach the edge of the Jordan’s waters, go and stand in the river.’”

We left Daniel’s boat and went back to Tabgha to see the famous floor mosaic of the loaves and fish.  From there we wound our way back through Tiberias and to the southern part of the Kinneret to where the Jordan River flows from the lake to the Dead Sea.    We had packed a picnic lunch and wanted to eat it by the Jordan River.

Matthew 3:6 “Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River.”

John 1:28 “This all happened at Bethany on the other side of the Jordan River. That was where John was baptizing.”

Most people see the Jordan River from the Yardenit where everyone lines up to be baptized.  Since none of us needed to be baptized, we wanted a more Israeli experience along the Jordan.   Our friend gave us directions to the ‘hippie place’ where locals camp and ‘hang out.’  After following several winding dirt roads, we found the perfect spot to eat pita, hummus, and dates.  At one time the Jordan River was very wide, but today, it’s only about 100 feet across due to irrigation of crops.

Sadly, what’s left of Jordan River has become a polluted mess.  As we crossed from one side to the other on a dirt dam, we came to a sign that explained two dams.  To make a long story short, on our left side was the small river known as the Jordan.  Above the dam was the Yardenit.   On our right side were two large culverts pouring liquid into a small drainage ditch.  One culvert pumped out a dirty water that held sewage; from the other flowed water from the river.  Together they formed a drainage ditch, Jordan River,   that flows through the valley to the Dead Sea.  Though there was beauty by the river, there are signs forbidding swimming.

Zechariah 11:3 “Listen to the shepherds cry out! Their rich grasslands are destroyed. Listen to the lions roar! The trees and bushes along the Jordan River are gone.”

After our picnic, we decided to drive around the rest of the Kinneret.  We went up the east side of the sea where there is virtually no tourism.  On this side, fields and fields of fruit trees line the side of the hillsides.  There is a beautiful resort called Ein Geve near the Ein Geve kibbutz.  We stopped there and took a little stroll around the area to get closer to the water and to see what it would be like to stay there if we ever return.

From Ein Geve we continued north around the lake passing the area where Yeshua cast the demons out of a madman into pigs – the Gadarenes.  Though there are no steep slopes near that area for pigs to tumble down, there are steep slopes before this place where it more than likely happened.

Matthew 8:28-34 “When he arrived at the other side in the region of the Gadarenes two demon-possessed men coming from the tombs met him. They were so violent that no one could pass that way.  “What do you want with us, Son of God?” they shouted. “Have you come here to torture us before the appointed time?” Some distance from them a large herd of pigs was feeding.   The demons begged Yeshua, “If you drive us out, send us into the herd of pigs.” He said to them, “Go!” So they came out and went into the pigs, and the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and died in the water.  Those tending the pigs ran off, went into the town and reported all this, including what had happened to the demon-possessed men. Then the whole town went out to meet Yeshua. And when they saw him, they pleaded with him to leave their region.”

At the north end of the lake, the Jordan River flows into the Sea of Galilee.  All along the northern end are lush green fields surrounded by ancient rock walls.  We saw horses grazing with sheep.    At a pullover for the river, we stopped to take a few pictures.  The river is not as polluted here, but there is trash everywhere.  A bridge that crosses the river was barricaded and the concrete blocks were full of graffiti.  I will say, however, if I were to ever be immersed in the Jordan River, I would choose the north side over the south and I would probably go into the Jordan River Park.  We did not go in there as it was more money than we wanted to spend for a 10 minute look-see, but the area was better maintained and a less abused area.

Before we knew it, we were back at Ginnosaur where we started our morning boat tour.  The entire trip around the lake took about one hour even with a few stops.  It was a pleasant and relaxing drive.  We are spending our last evening in our apartment enjoying the sunset on the Sea of Galilee.

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