The Holy Land - Day 6
Thursday, January 10, 2013 Comments (0)
We began the day with an amazing buffet breakfast at the 5-star Scots Hotel, St. Andrews, Tiberas, Galilee. WOW! Great way to start the day!!
Our sight-seeing began on day 6 with a trip to the Sea of Galilee museum. In the museum, we viewed "The Sea of Galilee Boat," also known as the "Jesus Boat." It was an ancient fishing boat from the 1st century A.D., discovered in 1986 on the north-west shore of the Sea of Galilee. The remains of this 2,000 year old boat, 27 feet long, 7.5 feet wide, and a maximum preserved height of 4.3 feet, were discovered during a drought, when the waters of the Sea of Galilee had receded. There is, however, no evidence connecting the boat to JESUS or His disciples. Google "The Sea of Galilee Boat" to learn more about it.
Our group then enjoyed a ride on a boat on the Sea of Galilee. Wow!!! It was so amazing to realize JESUS walked "on" that water! Go to John 6: 15-21 to read the account. During the ride, one of the crew members demonstrated how the ancient fishermen did their work.
From there, we went to the Mount of Beatitudes. On the northwestern shore of the Sea of Galilee, between Capernaum and Gennesaret (Ginosar), this location is purported to be the site where JESUS delivered the Sermon on the Mount. Standing at that sight, I could visualize JESUS standing and speaking. Another wow!!
From their, our tour guide took us directly up north to the Israeli and Lebanese boarder. Our guide, Tsion Ben-David, was former director of the Israeli Ministry of Tourism, and also served as a tank commander during the 6 day war. Talk about a man who could give you all the info you needed about Israeli history!! It was a several hour trip, during which we saw more signs designated "Danger - mine field."
Caesarea Phillipi was our next destination. Situated 25 miles north of the Sea of Galilee and at the base of Mt. Hermon, Caesarea Philippi is the location of one of the largest springs feeding the Jordan River. According to sources, this abundant water supply made the area very fertile and attractive for religious worship. Numerous temples were built at this city in the Hellenistic and Roman periods. You could still see some of the ruins of this famous archeological site. The Biblical significance of this sight were both the transfiguration (Matthew 17: 1-3) and the account in which JESUS said to Simon Peter, "And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it" (Matthew 16: 13-20). In verse 13, the Bible says that "JESUS came into the region of Caesarea Philippi."
Our tour guide then took us to Mount Bental, a beautiful overlook that provided a stunning view of Mount Hermon and also Golan. Located in the Golan Heights, Mount Bental is 1,170 meters above sea level. Not only did we see Mt. Hermon, but we also got to see several Druze villages, as well as a network of old bunkers and trenches. We could see Syria to the east, with Damascus only 40 miles away. Our tour guide talked about the Yom Kippur War of 1973, where Mount Bental was the site of one of the largest tank battles in history. Here is an account that I found:
Mount Bental is a key strategic point for Israel due to its advantageous observation point. Israel knew it count not risk losing this mountain, nor any of the Golan Heights . The Syrians attacked the Golan with 1,500 tanks and 1,000 artillery pieces. Israel countered with only 160 tanks and 60 artillery pieces. The long stretch of valley in between Mount Bental and Mount Hermon became known as the Valley of Tears. The 100 Israeli tanks were reduced to seven under extreme enemy fire. However, the Israelis managed to take down 600 Syrian tanks in the process. The Syrians eventually retreated, but not without inflicting heavy casualties on Israel.
We then traveled off the tourist path, and sighted quite a few Israeli tanks along the route that were pointed toward Syria. But everything was very calm and safe. As we drove back to the area of the Sea of Galilee, we stopped at an overlook that gave a panoramic view of the entire region, including the Sea of Galilee. We took some really good pictures of the sun setting!
We arrived back at the Scots Hotel after dark. To conclude our day, we enjoyed a wonderful buffet meal at the hotel's restaurant. Afterwards, a group of us went to view the amazing 10 minute "light show" at the Sea of Galilee, which I videotaped on my iphone, and then did some shopping on the way back to the hotel.
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