In September 2018, I had the wonderful privilege of fulfilling a lifelong dream of taking a trip to Israel. Four of us hired a car and traveled through Israel staying in Air B & B’s at the three main sites of Jaffa, Galilee and Jerusalem. It was a very precious time and as many speak of – your Bible truly comes alive after visiting these places that are mentioned. Hope you enjoy and take something with you as you look through.
Jaffa and Galilee
Acts 9:36 At Joppa there was a certain disciple named Tabitha, which is translated Dorcas. This woman was full of good works and charitable deeds which she did. But it happened in those days that she became sick and died. When they had washed her, they laid her in an upper room… Then Peter arose and went with them. When he had come, they brought him to the upper room. And all the widows stood by him weeping, showing the tunics and garments which Dorcas had made while she was with them. But Peter put them all out, and knelt down and prayed. And turning to the body he said, “Tabitha, arise.” And she opened her eyes, and when she saw Peter she sat up. Then he gave her his hand and lifted her up; and when he had called the saints and widows, he presented her alive. And it became known throughout all Joppa, and many believed on the Lord. So it was that he stayed many days in Joppa with Simon, a tanner.
Simon the Tanner's house, Old Jaffa (Joppa)
Sadly the reputed site of Simon the Tanner's house is in disrepair and not accessible. But to stand there knowing that Peter probably had stood in the same spot was an extraordinary feeling. But it was here that Simon received the vision and call to preach to the Gentiles of the gospel of Christ.
Jaffa or Joppa in Biblical times
Palm tree lined paths linking the towns along the Mediterranean between Jaffa and Tel Aviv.
From Jaffa we made our way to the Sea of Galilee staying a stone’s throw from the water’s edge in Tiberias. I have never experienced peace like it. Like a portal to heaven this area pulsates with an atmosphere that is hard to describe in words.
Sea of Galilee
Watching the sunrise by the shore of Galilee
Sea of Galilee
Many of the boats on the Lake today are of the traditional design that would have been similar to those in Jesus' day.
Tiberias on the Sea of Galilee
We were in Tiberias on Yom Kippur or the Day of Atonement. It is the most sacred and solemn day in the Jewish calendar. A day to reflect on the past year and ask God's forgiveness for any sins.
The Scots Hotel was once a medical centre established in the 19th century by Dr David Watt Torrance – a young Scottish doctor, who was head of the Church of Scotland’s mission to heal the people of the Holy Land. He arrived in Tiberius in 1884 with the specific purpose of being available to all regardless of race or creed. Dr Torrance lost two of his wives and four of his children due to the harsh living conditions and disease. Despite the tragic losses, the difficulties enforced by the Turkish authorities, the repercussions of World War 1, and a bad car accident – Dr Torrance cared for thousands of patients until his death in 1923. His son, Dr Herbert Torrance joined him in 1921 and continued to run the hospital he retired in 1953. On its closure, The Church of Scotland wanted to make use of the buildings and opened a guest house for pilgrims and visitors. In 1999 after a major refurbishment this 5 star hotel was launched.
The Scots Hotel, Tiberias
Matthew 11:23 And you, Capernaum, who are exalted to heaven, will be brought down to Hades; for if the mighty works which were done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day
From Tiberias we were able to visit the ruins of Carpernaum. The town that Jesus stayed in when in that region.
The Canadian sculptor, Timothy Schmalz, depicted Jesus as a homeless person, sleeping on a park bench. Whilst his hands and face are obscured under a blanket, wounds from the cruxification on his feet disclose his identity. Schmalz planned for the sculpture to be provoking, admitting, “That’s essentially what the sculpture is there to do. It’s meant to challenge people.” Many others have been placed around the world including one in St. Anne’s Square in Manchester.
Matthew 25:40 And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.
Matthew 5:1-12 And seeing the multitudes, He went up on a mountain, and when He was seated His disciples came to Him. Then He opened His mouth and taught them.
Mount of Beatitudes
From Capernaum to the Mount of Beatitudes where tourists, pilgrims and religious orders of many kinds visit
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, For they shall be filled. Blessed are the merciful, For they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, For they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, For they shall be called sons of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Church of the Beatitudes
Jesus spent most of his ministry in what has been called ‘The Evangelical Triangle.’ This is a small geographic area containing the area between the biblical cities of Capernaum, Korazin and Bethsaida. Jesus chose to make his home in Capernaum fulfilling fulfill Isaiah 9:1 which says: Nevertheless the gloom will not be upon her who is distressed, As when at first He lightly esteemed. The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, And afterward more heavily oppressed her, By the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, In Galilee of the Gentiles. The people who walked in darkness
Have seen a great light; Those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death, Upon them a light has shined.
Jesus fulfilled this prophecy with incredible accuracy, although it was written over 700 years before his coming. Jesus is the “great light” in Isaiah. Also, the roadway Isaiah mentions called the “Way of the Sea” ran through Capernaum as a highway in Jesus’ time. A Roman mile marker designating this route can still be seen today in Capernaum’s ruins. The prophet also mentions two tribal lands, Zebulun and Nathpali. It is of note that while Nazareth was located in the tribal area of Zebulun, the area of Capernaum fell within the ancient tribal boundaries of Naphtali. Jesus precisely fulfilled the prophet’s words by spending his boyhood in Zebulun and much of his ministry in Naphtali.
The Evangelical Triangle
Matthew 2:23 And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, “He shall be called a Nazarene.”
We drove to Nazareth in search of Jesus' home. Unfortunately all we met was intense traffic and no where to park.. but caught this snap of a small market stall.. on the ground a curious reflection of 'Merry xmas' - in september, in israel?
The Sea of Galilee (apart from offering free pedicures) is the largest fresh water lake situated in north-eastern Israel, near the borders with Jordan and Syria. It is 64 square miles, provides a third of Israel’s drinking water and also provides a commercial source of fishing. It is known by a variety of names and due its shape is often referred by Israelis as the “Kinneret,” which is the Hebrew word for ‘violin’. The most famous sermon on the Mount was given on the lake’s north-western shore. It is known for its sudden violent storms from the East winds from over the Golan Heights, the storm that Jesus quelled with His Word.