In the footsteps of Jesus
We have to be content again with a picture-less post today because of the wi-fi situation. I hope to get some pictures loaded tomorrow once we’re back in Bethlehem. This morning we visited three sites on the Sea of Galilee first described by the Spanish pilgrim Egeria in 381 AD. She wrote that local people had been venerating these sites, and each one had an early Byzantine Church, destroyed by the pre-Islamic Persians in 614 in their wars against the Byzantines, and now succeeded by modern 20th century structures. They mark the locations of the Sermon on the Mount, the multiplication of the loaves and fishes, and the resurrection appearance of Jesus in John 21. Each one had a unique spiritual quality, and many students took the opportunity for quiet contemplation. We had a great lunch of “St. Peter’s Fish” outside on a terrace overlooking the lake. All the other tourists thought it was too cold to sit outside (about 60 degrees F), but for us Vermonters it was like an early summer day! Then in the afternoon we went to two spectacular archaeological sites associated with the life of Jesus: Capernaum and Magdala. Each one has a synagogue, the one at Magdala dating from the first century. Each one also has extensive remains of houses and neighborhoods, giving all of us a glimpse of what daily life was really like in the time of the New Testament. Tomorrow we leave the Galilee with all sorts of adventures planned for Nablus (home of the small Samaritan community), ancient Sebaste, and modern Ramallah.