Yom Rishon – A New Day – February 16

First, I want to say ‘thank you’ to everyone who is reading the blog and who have taken the time to pray for me, my family, and my friend whose son died.  My friend is in such grief that it is very difficult for me to be in Israel at this time.  I know that God has a plan and He is in everything that is happening even the most difficult events that are transpiring thousands of miles away.  The death of a child is horrible in any circumstance, but suicide adds so many other facets to the situation from anger and guilt to blame and isolation that only time and a lot of compassion and forgiveness will heal.

The clouds were still low this morning, but there was evidence of a change with the sun peeking through clouds.  Our plans for the morning included going to the post office and mailing our last post cards and taking Eliana to the bus stop.  We were glad she knew where the post office was located and she knew where we could park.  Fortunately, both the post office and the bus stop were very close.

On the way downtown, I learned the word for ‘stamps’, bolim.  I was going to boldly go into the post office and say, “Ani rotzah bolim.”  I kept repeating the word over and over in my head so I wouldn’t forget as we walked toward my destination.  We entered the post office and it was much larger than the one in Jerusalem.  There were about fifty chairs and most of them were occupied.  I thought, ‘Oh no, my husband is going to be waiting hours for me to mail five post cards.’  I looked around to find one of those machines for taking a number, but I didn’t see one.  I turned to ask Eliana about it, and she was standing at a touch screen machine, full of Hebrew, and punching selections faster than I could even pick out one letter of one word.  She handed me the little paper that it spit out.  My number was 902.

I looked up at the row of post office windows and I saw 65 or something like that.  Again, I’m thinking that we had better brought lunch!  I make my way to a chair to get comfortable for the long haul and Eliana says, “Were next.”  What?  She points to the six or seven windows, each had a red number above it.  She pointed to one that read 901 and said, “That’s our window.  It’s for international mail.”  So, each window dealt with a different type of mail and suddenly I found myself face to face with the post office worker.  Before I could say my little three word sentence in Hebrew, I could hear Eliana rattling off bulim and other longer sentences.  Within a few minutes, I had my five stamps and they were on the post cards ready to be mailed.  I still wonder two things: would I ever have been able to figure out the touch screen number machine, and if I did, would I have remembered my three word sentence, “I want stamps!”

We headed back to the car where we had to say good-bye to my Israeli daughter.  It was more difficult leaving her here in Israel than leaving her in the United States.  In my mind, I remembered that tomorrow, Monday, should have been her wedding day and watching us leave was just another reminder of how times and events change.

From the parking lot, we started on our little journey north around the Sea of Galilee.  We were going to four places: Ginosaur, Tabgha, Kefr Naum (Capernaum), and the Mount of the Beattitudes.

The drive around the lake was beautiful as the mist lifted and the sun began to shine.  Ginosaur is on the lake and is where most boat rides on the lake begin or end.  We were going there to see an ancient fishing boat.

Matthew 4:18  “As Yeshua was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen.”

Matthew 4:23 “Yeshua went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people.”

In 1986 two brothers from a nearby kibbutz discovered this boat when the Sea of Galilee was very low due to drought conditions.  The boat had been buried in the seabed’s sediments and consequently protected from deterioration.  The process to remove the boat without disintegration and then preserving it, took about 11 years.

The length of the boat is 29.6 feet, 7.5 feet wide, and 3.9 feet high.  It is built in the typical ancient Mediterranean ‘shell-based’ construction using pegged mortise and tenon joins to edge join the planking.  Iron nails hold the frames to the hull.  Numerous types of wood were used to make the boat suggesting that it had a long work life and a poor owner.  Using several criteria to date the boat, it is dated to the first century about the Second Temple period when Yeshua would have been walking around the Galilee.

I tried to post a photo of this boat, but it’s difficult because it is being held by metal bars.  The temperature-controlled room is dark so my flash just lit the metal and the wooden boat can barely be seen.

As we were leaving the Yigal Allon Center where the boat is housed, a nicely-dressed Israeli man came up to us.  He asked us if we were with a tour or had a car.  We told him we had a car.  He asked if we were going the direction of Tabgha and we told him that was our next stop.  He wondered if he could ‘hitch’ a ride as he was going to be playing music on his recorder.

He had so many interesting tidbits to tell us about little areas we passed.  He pointed out the banana trees.  He told us about snakes in the area, but are harmless  if you know to keep your belongings in a tent so snakes can’t climb in bags and clothes.  The distance between Ginosaur and St. Peter’s Church where we was going to play, was 7 minutes so our time with him was short.  We dropped him off and went into Capernaum or Kfar Naum (Village of Naum).

Rejected in Nazareth, Yeshua lived in Capernaum and made it his center of activity for 18-20 months.   Located on the Sea of Galilee, it was also the International Highway connecting Mesopotamia and Egypt.  It’s importance is indicated by the presence of a Roman centurion and a detachment of troops, a customs station and a high officer of a king.

Matthew 8:5-9 “As Yeshua entered K’far Nachum, a Roman army officer came up and pleaded for help.  ‘Sir, my orderly is lying at home paralyyzed and suffering terribly!’ Yeshua said, “I will go and heal him.”  But the officer answered, “Sir, I am unfit to have you come into my home.  Rather, if you will only give the command, my orderly will recover.  For I, too, am a man under authority.  I have solders under me, and I say to this one, ‘Go!’ and he goes; to another, ‘Come!’ and he comes; to my slave, ‘Do this!’ and he does it.”  On hearing this Yeshua was amazed and said … ‘Yes, I tell you, I have not found anyone in Israel with such faith!”

Matthew 9:9 “As Yeshua passed on from there he spotted a tax collector name Matthew sitting in his collection booth.  He said to him, “Follow me!” and he got up and followed him.” 

John 4:46 “He went again to Cana in the Galilee, where he had turned the water into wine.  An officer in the royal service was there; his son was ill in Kfar Nachum (Capernaum).”

It was in Capernaum that Yeshua healed many people among some of the are:

The paralyzed man who was let down through a roof (Mt. 9:1-8, Mark 2:1-12, Luke 5:17-26).

The woman who was hemmoraging and Jarius’ daughter who he raised from the dead (Mt. 9:18-26, Mark 5:22-43, Luke 8:40-56).

Two blind men and a mute demoniac (Mt. 9:27-35, 12:22-45, Mark 3:2-22, Luke 11:14-26).

In this village are the impressive remains of a synagogue surrounded by village homes.    The synagogue is built on the remains of an older synagogue from Yeshua’s time.  It has decorated pillars, stone bench seats around the sides and even the bema seat from where Yeshua would have read the Torah portion when it was his turn.

Close by a church has been built over what most believe was Peter’s house.  Though a church was built on top of the original foundation, the walls have numerous written inscriptions of the names of the disciples and Yeshua.  It was most likely in this house that Yeshua healed Peter’s mother-in-law when she was sick.

Matthew 8:14-15 “Yeshua went to Peter’s home and there saw Peter’s mother-in-law sick in bed with a fever.  He touched her hand, the fever left her, and she got up and began helping him.”  

From Capernaum we went back through Tabgha to see the mosaic of the five loaves and two fish.   Unfortunately, the are in a catholic monastery and it’s closed on Sunday.  Perhaps we can return there our last day here since it’s close to our apartment.

While we were walking along the road from the monastery to St. Peter’s Church, we could hear the music of a recorder. Standing at the gated entrance,  there was our hitch-hiker friend playing “Jerusalem of Gold”.  He recognized us and asked us about the places we had been.  He offered to play a song for us and I asked him to play “Ha Tikvah”, the Israeli National Anthem.  People from tour busses passed by and dropped coins into his basket.

Our final destination for the area around the northern sea was the Mount of the Beattitudes where it is believed Yeshua gave the Sermon on the Mount.  Though no one knows exactly where that event took place, the hillsides are perfect for 5000 or more people to sit and listen to a great Rabbi.  We arrived at the gate and it was closed. Apparently, the sisters of the mission take a two-hour lunch so we just sat and waited for the gate to open.  A car came to the other side and wanted out.  We both laughed as we both needed to pass the gate, but neither knew how to do it.

John 6:23  “Then some boats from Tiberias landed near the place where the people had eaten the bread after the Lord had given thanks.”

When it finally opened an hour later, we were able to walk around the beautifully maintained gardens of the church.  Along one walkway, we all took a moment to have our picture taken under a fig tree.  The views of the countryside from the gardens was breathtaking.  Everything was green and lush and so inviting.   We actually wondered why a park with seating for 5000 had not been made just for people to grasp the enormity of the group sitting on the hillside munching on the five loaves and two fishes.

There was a beautiful fountain along the walkway that made me laugh.  A huge stone sign quotes Yeshua as saying, “Come to me and living waters will flow out of you” while a small sign by the fountain says, “Do not drink the water.”  The irony made me laugh which is why I posted the photograph.

John 6:1-3 Some time later, Yeshua went over to the far side of Lake Kinneret (that is, Lake Tiberias), and a large crowd followed him, because they had seen the miracles he had performed on the sick. Yeshua went up into the hills and sat down there with his talmidim (disciples).”

We returned to Tiberias for dinner of St. Peter’s fish at The Rosa.  It was delicious and served with tomatoes, a vegetable shish-kabob and the best potatoes I’ve ever eaten!   Of course, we had to have the chocolate coffee and dessert again.  This time I had Cassata Rosa, a type of layered cake while my daughter had the Oreo Rectangle with white chocolate.  We took another walk along the tayelet where the shuks were open and selling clothing.   My daughter and I bought wrap skirts that can be made into dresses.  We completed our souvenir shopping at a little store where a man had a Brasilian shirt hanging with a Brasilian flag.  We each bought a ring that has the Hebrew, “I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine.”

The sun began setting with light blues and pinks over the sea.  Puffy clouds dotted the sky and we know the rain is over for now.  Tour boats floated across the sea and gulls flying above made the scene seem somehow Biblically realistic.

With only about 30 minutes day light left,  we went toward the south end of the lake where the Jordan River flows out of the Kinneret.   We had been given directions to a place along the Jordan where Israelis, and not tourists go.  Our evening was complete when we stopped and listened to the wildlife around us while the Jordan River slowly flowed by.

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