After our stay in the desert, we headed back up north to the rolling, green hills of Galilee. This is the land of Nazareth (Jesus’s hometown) and Capernaum (Peter’s hometown and Jesus’s “home base” for most of his ministry). This land provides the backdrop for much of the New Testament. And, after the frantic pace of Jerusalem and the desolation of the desert, the green hills and sparkling lake were like a breath of fresh air.
View of Mount Hermon from Hazor, an Israelite city built by King Solomon:
Dan Nature Preserve. This is the area where the Israelite tribe of Dan eventually settled after they failed to drive the Philistines out of the coastal plane. It is also the spot where Jeroboam set up an altar to discourage his people from traveling to Jerusalem to worship in the temple:
Caesarea Philippi. In this town, Peter professed Jesus to be the Son of God:
View from the Golan Heights on the northeastern border of Israel:
We stayed in Ginosar (Biblical Gennesaret) on the Sea of Galilee and spent a good amount of time lounging on the pier outside our hotel. This is the lake where Jesus walked on water:
Looking out from the Mount of Beatitudes where Jesus preached the Seromon on the Mount:
Inside the church commemorating the feeding of the five thousand:
Capernaum, Peter’s hometown. The darker basalt structures were from Jesus’s time. The synagogue was built in the 4th or 5th century over the original basalt foundation:
Excavated corner showing the original basalt foundation of the synagogue in Capernaum:
Beit She’an – a Roman city built next to the Tel (or mound) an ancient Israelite city:
View from Mount Precipice near Nazareth. It is said that the Nazarenes attempted to throw Jesus off of this cliff after his reading from the Isaiah scroll in Nazareth. Though the sign on top of the mountain says that he escaped by flying away, the Gospel of Luke states that “he passed through their midst”:
One of many beautiful mosaics in Sepphoris, a Hellenistic city near Nazareth:
Megiddo – another Solomonic city. This city is referenced in the word Armageddon (“Armageddon” comes from the Hebrew “Har Megiddo” meaning “Mount Megiddo”). The Bible, therefore, connects this location with the final battle between good and evil.
Caesarea Maritima – a Herodian city and harbor on the Mediterranean Sea. It was here that the Gospel first reached the Gentiles when Peter baptized Cornelius the Centurion. Paul was also imprisoned here as he awaited trial in Rome.