For the last part of my visit to Israel-Palestine I took a two-day tour north to Galilee and back to Tel Aviv, with a tour guide.
My guide is Sahar Saado, a Messianic Jew from Jerusalem.
We went east from Jerusalem to the Jordan River Valley, an area where abundant produce grows, and then north through that valley into the area of Galilee.
At my request we went to Hula Nature Reserve, a vast area of protected land, water and farms.
The huge flock of Gray cranes was delightful and noisy, but since I had no telephoto lens, you are not likely to be impressed with this simple photo.
Gray crane was one of the new species I added to my bird list on this trip, so my “life list” now stands at 658.
Our next stop was Galilee’s Miracle Center to see the remains of this boat recovered from the mud of the Sea of Galilee and restored – a boat from the first century, similar to the one Jesus and the disciples would have sailed on.
Welcome to Capernaum, Jesus’ home base for his public ministry. This what is left of a fourth century synagogue, built on the site of the synagogue that was here in Jesus’ day.
At this same location is a statue of the Apostle Peter, with the Sea of Galilee in the background.
In the evening Sahar and I went to a grille restaurant for lamb and chicken kebabs. Before the kebabs came, we had flat bread to be dipped in 19 side dishes!
We stayed in a hotel in Tiberias, looking east over the Sea of Galilee.
On my last day of touring we start out at Arbel, a high cliff overlooking the valley and, to the right, off the photo, the Sea of Galilee.
The excavations of Zippori (or Sepphoris), which was the capital and largest city of Galilee in Jesus’ day. Here are the pillars and mosaic floor of a synagogue from the first half of the fifth century.
Still in Zippori, a floor mosaic from the house of a wealthy person. The woman in this scene is called the Mona Lisa of Zippori.
Next stop – the town of Nazareth. We spent time in Nazareth Village and had a narrated tour of the re-creation of several things typical of Jesus’ day – a sheep pen, a cave tomb, a winepress, a watchtower in a vineyard, an olive oil press and a synagogue.
And a carpenter’s shop.
We had a lunch of foods typical of NT times. The delicious flatbread was baked in the oven you see here by a baker who is a volunteer from US.
The large, modern Church of the Annunciation in Nazareth.
The inside view of the rotunda.
In the lower level a shrine and grotto.
In the courtyard stands a statue of Mary. Many pilgrims pause to hold her hands and pray.
We went to Mt. Carmel, the site of the prophet Elijah’s challenge to the prophets of the false god Baal. The interior of the chapel.
Elijah about to kill one of the false prophets.
From an observation roof we saw the large, fertile Jezreel Valley, but the fog and haze rendered my photos not worth showing.
Now we are in Jaffa (also called Joppa and Yafo), the ancient port city on the Mediterranean Sea out of which Tel Aviv grew. Here we are looking north along the Sea to modern Tel Aviv.
A friendly-looking resident of Jaffa.
A house in a location similar to Simon the Tanner’s house, where Peter stayed and saw the vision from God that persuaded him to be willing to go to the home of the Gentile Cornelius.
Still in Jaffa, St. Peter’s Church, a Franciscan Church.
My last night in Israel was at Gilgal Hotel in Tel Aviv, a hotel owned by a Messianic Jew.
In these two days I learned important insights into Israel and Palestine from my guide, Sahar. His perspectives were not always the same as what I learned at Christ at the Checkpoint, but I was able to affirm him and bless his role as a peacemaker for Christ.
One of his important comments about Palestinian and Jewish believers was this: “Both sides need to open their hearts to each other.”
God certainly opened my heart in new ways through the many experiences I had in Israel-Palestine.
Thanks for traveling with me.