Posts Tagged ‘Sea of Galilee’

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,

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.

©2014 Tentstake Ministries Publishing, all rights reserved.  No copying or reproducing of this article without crediting the author or Tentstake Ministries Publishing.

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Yom Rishon & A New Week – 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.

©2014 Tentstake Ministries Publishing, all rights reserved.  No copying or reproducing of this article without crediting the author or Tentstake Ministries Publishing.

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Tiberias by the Sea – February 14

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.”

Another beautiful morning on the Sea of Galilee.  Today we went into Tiberias to find some internet and connect with people we needed meet and confirm some reservations.  Our host was very helpful in giving us the names of two coffee shops, but only said, “They’re very easy to find downtown.”  Our apartment is not anywhere ‘downtown’ and we actually had no idea how to get downtown so we just followed roads that led to the Kinneret.  Crowded one-way streets with no real signs didn’t give us any information about either of the two places.  So we kept following the road until we were out of the town driving by the sea.

The city of Tiberias was founded by Herod Antipas in AD 17-20 and was named after the Emperor Tiberias Caesar, the emperor of Rome during the time of Yeshua.    There is no record that Yeshua ever visited the actual city of Tiberias, but the area was known for its therapeutic hot springs.  This may explain why large numbers of sick people came to Yeshua for healing when he was in the area.

Yeshua predicted judgement for several towns around the sea – Korazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum – and they have only archaeological ruins.  He did not pronounce judgment on Tiberias and it is a bustling little city today.

Matthew 11:20-24  “Then Yeshua began to denounce the towns in which he had done most of his miracles, because the people ha not turned from their sins to God.  ‘Woe to you, Korazin!  Woe to you, Beit-Tzaidah!  Why, if the miracles done in you had been done in Tzor and Tzidon, they would long ago put on sackcloth and ashes as evidence that they had changed their ways.  But I tell you it will be more bearable for Tzor and Tzidon than for you on the Day of Judgment!  And you, Capernaum, will you be exalted to heaven?  No, you will be brought down to Sh’ol! For if the miracles done in you had been done in Sodom, it would still be in existence today.  But I tell you that on the Day of Judgment it will be more bearable for the land of Sodom than for you!”

We stopped at Gai Beach Club and asked for a map.  We were going to travel the old-fashioned way and leave WAZE behind.  They had an excellent map of the Galilee region and the reception people were helpful in circling the two coffee shops where there was internet along  with parking and directions to Mt. Arbel.  They even took our post cards so they are finally on their way around the world.

Map in hand, we drove back to the city and learned there are two main roads that go in and out of the city.  They are both one way and go opposite directions.   We found parking exactly where they were shown on the map.  We put our money in the meter for 1 1/2 hours and set off to find The Rosa.

The Sea of Galilee, or the Kinneret as it is known Israelis,  is the same size as Lake McConaughy in Nebraska for those who know this lake.   It is 13 miles long, 7 1/2 miles wide at its northern end, between 130-157 feet deep, 32 miles around and 650 feet below sea level.  It is not really a sea, it is a fresh water lake.  There are many beaches along the shore for swimming in the summer and there are even races across the sea.  Storms can come up quickly on the sea making the currents very strong.   The mountain range on the eastern shore of the sea was to be the eastern boundary of the Promised Land (Numbers 34:11).

Along the shoreline of the Kinneret, there are many street walks with shops.  It’s called the ti-ilet טיילת.    The sun was shining on the water and the day was very warm.  I honestly never thought I would come home from Israel with a tan, but winter here is like moderate summer where we live.  Along the ti-ilet there were a lot of piers and boats docked..  Some were private fishing boats, others were tour boats.  A small overlook had a sculpture that kept track of the water level.  The level of the fresh water in the Kinneret is very important for Israel.    The level at the moment is right where it needs to be since they had their early rains.  However, in recent weeks they have not had much rain and everyone was saying how the area needed it desperately.

At the Rosa we decided to have their specialty coffee named after the restaurant.  It was coffee with chocolate that sank to the bottom.   I ordered a creamy egg-custard looking dessert.  I have no idea what it was because our waitress couldn’t speak English.  When I showed a picture of it to our friend who is fluent in Hebrew, she didn’t know what it was either.  It was ta’im delicious.

We sat at the cafe, enjoyed our desserts and used the internet.  In Israel, people are expected to sit and eat for hours.  We wondered about this because in Jerusalem we were always trying to eat quickly in order to have more time for the things we had planned.  It seemed that the waiters were always a little confused when my husband would ask for the check.  Today, however, I’m sure our waitress was very happy with us as we sat and soaked in all the natural Vitamin D.

John 6:1-3 “Some time after this, Yeshua crossed to the far shore of the Sea of Galilee (that is, the Sea of Tiberias),and a great crowd of people followed him because they saw the signs he had performed by healing the sick. Then Yeshua went up on a mountainside and sat down with his disciples.”

We finished our morning brunch dessert and headed to Mt. Arbel.  Mt. Arbel is a mountain in the lower Galilee very near where we are staying.  It rises 594 feet above sea level which appears high because the Kinneret is below sea level.  It has many hiking trails that go through cliffs and and valleys and take more time than we had.  The most common and easy trail follows the upper cliff to a lookout of all the Galilee region.  From the point,  there  are views of Mount Hermon in the Golan Heights, Tiberias and Safed and most of the shoreline of the Kinneret.  On this day, clouds were moving in over the northern Galilee.  We could visually see Mount Hermon and its snow-capped peak, but we could not capture it on photos.

From Mt. Arbel, we headed back to our apartment via the grocery store.  Our daughter was spending the day with Rawan in Nazareth and Cana and we had a couple of hours to wait until picking her up.  We wanted to make sure we had some food supplies for Sabbath since all stores are closed.  I especially wanted challah and cinnamon so I could make French toast challah for breakfast.  The parking lot was almost empty and so was the store as most people were already preparing for the Shabbat and only a few had last minute items to buy.

Nazareth is considered small village on a ridge overlooking the Jezreel Valley; however, when we drove through, it was more like a very large city.  The word Nazareth mean ‘branch or shoot’ or netzer.  Nazareth doesn’t appear in the Tenak (Old Testament), but it is where Yeshua’s mother lived when the angel appeared to her with the news of the coming Messiah.  Nazareth was also where Yeshua spent his childhood and young adulthood.  His first recorded message occurred in Nazareth and the townspeople tried to throw him from the Mount of Precipice.

Luke 1:26-27 “In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary.”

Luke 2:39 “When Joseph and Miryam had finished doing everything required by the Torah of the Lord, they returned to the Galil, to their town, Nazareth.”

John 2:11 “What Yeshua did here in Cana of Galilee was the first of the signs through which he revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.

In the later afternoon hours, we sat on our deck and watch boats and jet skis on the lake.  My husband put on some Paul Wilbur music from the album “Your Great Name” and I began to dance some wonderfully choreographed dances as preparation for the Sabbath.  Clouds began to roll in from the north and the smell of rain filled the air.

Shabbat Shalom

“Those who keep the Sabbath and call it a delight shall rejoice in Your kingship.  The people who sanctify the seventh day shall all be satisfied and take delight in Your goodness, and You favored the seventh day and declared it holy.  You called it ‘most desirable of days” in remembrance of Creation.”

“Our God and God of our ancestors, find favor, please in our rest.  Make us holy through Your commandments and grant us our share in Your Torah.  Satisfy us with Your goodness, grant our souls joy in Your salvation, and purify our hearts to serve You in truth.  In love and favor, LORD our God, grant us as our heritage Your holy Sabbath, so that all Israel who sanctify Your name may find rest on it.  Blessed are You, LORD, who sanctifies the Sabbath” (page 598, Koren Siddur, Jewish prayer book).

I love Sabbath in Israel.  I love that the whole nation shuts down.  I love that there is a unity of spirit in the Sabbath and that everyone takes part.  The old saying that it’s not the Jews who keep the Sabbath, but the Sabbath that keeps the Jews is true.  There is just something about a whole country being united in the Sabbath, the holy day of the Lord,  without regard to their belief system – Orthodox, Conservative, Reformed, Chasid, or Messianic both in Yeshua and ‘other messiahs’. No one is out driving, no one is buying or selling, everyone is in their home with their families inviting the Sabbath in their own traditional ways.

This Sabbath was going to be a little different than last week’s Sabbath.  We were joining our friend, Eliana Hyde, and her family in Poriyah Kfar Avoda.  My younger son met Eliana on the internet through some other friends who live in Israel.  Eliana is the daughter of Messianic musician, Carolyn Hyde, and a beautiful singer.  Over the years, Eliana became my Israeli daughter and when my oldest son was married, she sang at his wedding.  Last year, Eliana visited our home (again) and for our home fellowship group, sang ‘Ha Tikvah‘, the Israeli national anthem.  The original intention of our visit to Israel at this time was for Eliana’s wedding.  Unfortunately, due to personal issues, she had to cancel her wedding.  We still had our plane tickets, our apartment reservations, and an itinerary so we decided that the Lord had a plan and we should still come to Israel.

Eliana’s mother was raised Orthodox Jewish in Chicago.  When she got older, she decided she didn’t want to be Orthodox so she moved to Israel for a year and lived on a kibbutz.  When she returned to the United States, she went to Mexico and sang in cantinas and joined the sixties scene.   While in a hospital, she had a vision and became a believer in the Messiah of Israel, Yeshua.  Many years later, she and her family made aliyah to Israel.  Aliyah means ‘to go up’ in a holy way.  To make aliyah to Israel means to ‘go up to the land as one makes aliyah to read Torah in a synagogue.  Over time Carolyn was invited to lead worship services and travels the world ministering to Jews, their Messiah and encouraging them to make aliyah. 

Their Sabbath celebration began with the lighting of the candles.  Eliana and her mom sang their family’s traditional blessings over the candles in this beautiful harmony that made me cry.  There was a blessing over the wine and the bread which had the same words as ours, but the melody was more lively and joyful.  For the next 5 to 10 minutes the family, consisting of her brother, Avi and his girlfriend Liora, Carolyn, Eliana and Richard sang classic Shabbat songs in Hebrew, kept the beat on the table (Eliana’s dad played a great spoon on his wine glass) and we all clapped and welcomed the Shabbat.   We had a wonderful dinner of Chinese food, salad and sweet potatoes.  Dessert was chocolates, dates, cookies and tea.   During dessert, my husband was surprised with birthday cards.  As his birthday is February 15, I had family members send his cards to Israel.  A few had not arrived so we walked to their mailbox and found a few more.

The Hydes invite those who visit Tiberias and the Galilee to join them at their home.  It’s called “The Living Stones Experience” and it would be a worthwhile experience to share a meal with them on their patio overlooking the Sea of Galilee.

We returned to our apartment and the smell of rain in the air turned into a downpour beating on the roof.  The Galilee was receiving their much-needed rain.

Acts 1:11  “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Yeshua, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”

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