11 – Sea of Galilee

Day 6

The Sea of Galilee (aka, Tiberas Sea) is a lot smaller than I expected it to be. It’s still pretty large – just smaller than I thought. We stayed at the Kibbutz Magaan on the shore of the southern end of the Sea of Galilee. Very lovely place!

Kibbutzes are communistic-type villas where Jews band together and form a commune and share all and share alike. They come up with some sort of uniquely identifying philosophy and band together to make it work. They were started in the ’50s when a couple of inspired Jews liked what they read about communism and moved to Israel to make their vision happen. As I understand it, nowhere else on earth have communistic-type communities fared as well as they have in Israel, nor have turned out so many brilliant contributors to society (military, political, etc). Alas, the younger generation is liking what they see in the “big cities”, so kibbutzes are having to come up with creative incentives to keep the younger generation in the fold. I figure in another 50 years, Kibbutzes will be another footnote in the pages of Jewish history. Although members of Kibbutzes have never accounted for more than 7% of the Israeli population, Kibbutzes have done more to impact Israel today than any other modern Israeli institution.

But back to the Sea of Galilee.

It was in this sea that Jesus walked on the water. I don’t think we’ll ever know exactly what part of the sea He walked on, but rest assured – if anyone had the slightest notion of where it took place, somebody would build a chapel over that spot and call it the Holy Shrine of Jesus Walking On The Water.

This is the same sea where Jesus said “Peace be still!” and the disciples were amazed that the winds and the seas obeyed His voice. This is also the place where Jesus cast the demons out of the man and they entered the swine and rushed headlong into the sea. We figure we know where that took place because there’s only one set of cliffs on the eastern shore of the Galilee. There’s a wide spot in the road to commemorate the miracle, but no church. Tourists just wouldn’t flock to the All Saints Cathedral of the Demonic Swine.

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We took a little trip on the sea because ..hey, why not! It’s all part of walking in Jesus’ footsteps.
Hard to imagine this calm sea almost tossing a boat. Maybe it was larger 2,000 years ago (it was. slightly)
I always envisioned Israel’s countryside to have exploded with suburban growth. Nothing could be further from the truth! The large cities are crowded, but the countryside is deliciously peaceful and sparse. Gotta love it! The fog and calm sea was .. like heaven on earth!(For more on this, be sure to see the movie clip section)
Our little boating excursion ended at another kibbutz where they keep the Jesus Boat. It was discovered a few years ago and dates back to Jesus’ time. One of the coolest archaeological finds in the past few years.As we left the museum, Pamela called our attention to a moment of silence commemorating the holocaust. At 10am sharp, horns sounded and the entire country came to a standstill for one full minute. It was quite moving.