After a busy day of filming the major Christian sites along the Sea of Galilee, I enjoyed this view from my hotel window in Tiberias.
If you can’t see the video below, watch it on YouTube.
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We worked a long day, and it went very well. Here are the eight sequences we covered in the script today:
A short drive up Israel’s coastline, and then into the interior, takes us down — 700 feet below sea level — to the Sea of Galilee. Israel’s top source of water is fed and drained by the Jordan River. This area has long been popular with Israeli vacationers and pilgrims. For Christians, Galilee is famous as the place where Jesus did his three years of ministry and where so many Bible stories are set.
In the Jordan River, the faithful believe John the Baptist baptized Jesus. And today, Christians from all over the world come here in droves to affirm their own baptism with a dip into that same fabled river.
Long before tourism, and even long before Christ, the economy around the Sea of Galilee was fishing. At the Kibbutz Ginosar, a museum contains a boat that dates from the time of Jesus. Recently discovered and excavated, it’s likely the same kind that those first disciples fished from. This busy north end of Galilee is where Jesus walked on water, calmed the storm, and talked fishermen into changing careers.
In the Bible, Matthew writes, “As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Peter and Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. ‘Come follow me,’ Jesus said, ‘and I will make you fishers of men.’”
Pilgrims and the faithful come here to worship and be inspired. In this church, a rock marks Mensa Christi — the place were Christ, resurrected after his Crucifixion, ate with his disciples and said to Peter, “Feed my sheep.” For Roman Catholics, this is a very important site, as it established the importance of Peter — the first pope — among the disciples.
Tour buses shuttle the crowds from one sight to the next. Another church is built upon the place where, according to the Bible, the five thousand who gathered to hear Jesus preach were miraculously fed by a few fish and loaves of bread. This mosaic is from the original church that stood here in the fifth century.
And this church, perched high above Galilee on Mount Beatitude, marks the place where Jesus gave the Sermon on the Mount. Beatitude is Latin for “blessing.” The faithful from every corner of Christendom come here to remember how Jesus said, “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the children of God. And blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.”