"Jesus of Galilee, The Nazorean" - The Holy Land Series by Paul Dion, STL
My report for April 12 and 13, 2007
The Holy Week and Easter finished with a superb banquet. We took Monday as a recuperating day and spent some time in a refugee camp.
Tuesday we dedicated to time on prayer, study and preparation for our trip to the Galilee. We knew that we were preparing to come to the area of the Holy Land where the Holy Family settled and Jesus grew up.
On the way here we stopped by Cesarea Maritima, just outside of Jerusalem on the Mediterranean shore to go over some of the Acts of the Apostles stories.
This port of the Mediterranean is a jewel of Roman elegance. It is everything that Rome is, only far across the sea. The 2,000 year old ruins stand out and define a city that still is able to capture the imagination and make you want to be there.
It is no mystery that Peter and Paul and Phillip who lived there wanted to stay there and work. Some of Peter's best early work was performed here, and to here Luke's story in Acts read on-site is an astonishing experience.
The hippodrome on my right, the amphitheatre on my left and the ocean in front of me while inside of me, Peter is catching on to the mission that Jesus sent him to do.
My feet did not touch the ground at all for the hour and one half that we were there visiting with Peter just a couple of days after the Resurrection. This is a site that the Romans left behind and is physically ruined, but believe me, after living for four years in Rome forty years ago, when I saw
this two days ago, my heart would not stop leaping in my breast.
Say what you will about the Romans, I enjoy what they acccomplished because it is a testimony to deep human participation in the creative power of God. Even though they were the occupying force, I don't blame Peter for wanting to be there for a while. It sure was better than Galilee. Not that Galilee is chopped liver, but Cesarea is better. You can read all about it in Acts, part of it in chapter 10.
From there we continued North on our way to Galilee. We stopped by Carmel and considered the work of the prophet Elijah and his contest with the Baal worshippers. (1 Kings, 18; 20 - 46)
Of course we came to appreciate the changing topography of Israel. We came down from the rocky heights of Jerusalem and followed the sea coast route from Cesarea towards Tel Aviv and Haiffa.
We turned right and went through the food basket of the country, named the Jezreel Valley. Except for its size, it resembles the Central Valley of California, one of the fertile food baskets of the United States. Like the huge valley in the United States, this smaller one is fertile but needs a lot of maintenance to make it productive. There is water, there are springs and such, but like in Calilfornia, there is no major river carrying water to the land. It has to be brought there. Neverthless, the results are the same.
After Carmel, which is high, high up, and the story of Elijah is fascinating, we continued to head Northeast towards Tiberias. After several hours of separation from Jerusalem, we saw the Lake of Caparnaum off to our left. We reached the edge of Tiberias and started our descent to 250 meters below sea level to reach the shore of the Lake.
If I was impressed by Cesarea, I was blessed by Tiberias. Not so much by the presence of Jesus. The Scriptures do not record His ever going to Tiberias. I was almost re-baptized by the sight of the water of the lake. Calm, cool, undulating and very quiet. No boats on it at this hour.
We checked in to the hotel and went to our room. When we slid the drapes back all we could see was Lake Gennesareth. All we could think of was Jesus out there talking back to us from the lake.
This is not Roman Country anymore. This is Jesus Country even though we are near the Decapolis and we are in the Roman Capitol of the region.
Here, in our hearts, Jesus reigns. Here in our hearts we hear Jesus say, "Did you come here to listen to the word of God or did you come here because you have eaten and you want to see another sign?" (John, 6; 26 ... )
We are here because we want to listen to the Land and to the Spirit speaking in our souls.
We also went to Nazareth today. I will save that meditation for one more day for you.
Tomorrow we will visit the shore cities that Jesus visited and preached in and we will ride the boat back from Bethsaida to Tiberias. About nine miles.
I am sure that Isabel and I will be trembling with a ton of feelings as we take the trip. This is the World of Jesus. This is the land that was pressed by His feet. This is the water that washed Him and His disciples. This is the Lake that could not swallow Him. He calmed it once and walked on it another time.
This is the place to be in Galilee. Every little ripple that flops on the shore says, "jjjjjeesssssUU'sssss."
How are we ever going to leave this place? I'll let you know when it happens.
CLICK HERE to view the following reports I have already posted from the Holy Land:
"WE'VE ARRIVED IN JERUSALEM!" My report 3/28/07
"MORE TALES ABOUT THE JOURNEY TO GET HERE," My report 3/28/07
"OH LITLE TOWN OF BETHLEHEM," My report 3/29/07
"JERUSALEM, YOU ARE MINE!" My report 3/31/07
"JERUSALEM! JERUSALEM! JERUSALEM!" My Palm Sunday report 4/1/07
"WHAT MAKES THE HOLY LAND, HOLY?" - A Short Meditation, My
"JERUSALEM, MT ZION AND PEOPLE" My report 4/3/07
"Last Supper Reflection frOm the Holy Land," My report 4/5/07
"Good Friday in Jerusalem," My report 4/6/07
"Jerusalem - Holy Saturday," My report 4/7/07
"The Dead Sea Comes Alive," My report 4/9/07