Light Hearts by the Sea of Galilee

galilee olives

We set out early to spend the day at Galilee.  However, our navigation device (on Michael’s phone) had other ideas.  It took us to Tel Aviv—to the airport!  Yes, inside the airport gates.  Michael directed us around the cargo area, the airport office building, and then finally to the exit where we got onto the highway to Tiberias by the Sea of Galilee.

Airport detour

There was a lot of traffic, with lots of big trucks.  By the time we got to Tiberias, it was two in the afternoon.  Michael was starving, and we weren’t sure that we would find a place that was still serving lunch.  But we did find one—the very place where I’d had lunch after the Galilee cruise on the tour of 2014 (that I still haven’t written about).  We all ordered Saint Peter’s fish and a side dish of hummus.

The running joke between us is that every time we are served hummus, they ask me what it is.  After telling them four or five times, I said, “I’m not telling you again, so listen: it’s pureed garbanzo beans!  Next time you ask, it’s all for me!”  So now they ask as a joke, and I tell them: “Never mind, this is mine!”

Galilee boat

I saw a boat arriving that looked just like the one we had cruised on, and we could hear Christian music coming from the boat.  That reminded me to tell them about the cruise: “We had booked a cruise with Daniel Carmel[1], who is a Messianic Jew.  He sings and writes music, in addition to captaining a cruise boat.  On the cruise, he told us about how he came to know Jesus:

He had been born and raised in another country (Croatia, I think).  His parents were Jews, and his father left (or died, I don’t remember).  He decided to make Aliya (repatriation to Israel), bought a boat and settled by Galilee.  He began taking people on cruises, but debts mounted.  On one trip, a Christian shared their testimony with Daniel.  That night, he asked Jesus to be his Savior.  Soon after that, someone bought his boat, but asked him to remain as captain.  This allowed him both an income and gave him the money he needed to pay his bills.  Finally, when he was able, he asked to buy the boat back, and got it.

Now he is the most requested tour boat on Galilee—the first choice for Christian tours.  As he takes them across the Sea, he sings his original music and tells his testimony, giving glory to God as he does.

With tears in his eyes, Daniel told us: “I came to Israel looking for my father, and I found my Heavenly Father.”

Just as I finished the story, I turned and looked at the boat again.  Now that it was docking I could see that it was Daniel’s boat—and Daniel was there, steering it.  Even at a distance, I could see that it was him.

When we finished lunch we went upstairs to The Galilee Experience.  It’s a shop that also has a short film about the history of Galilee.  We watched it in Spanish, since only Fabio and I understand English.

After the film, we did some shopping, and Pastor Fabio got a shofar.  Shopping there is such a pleasure that we lost track of time.  When we left, the sun was setting.  We had several other places that we had wanted to visit: Tabgha (where Jesus multiplied the loaves and fishes), Capernaum, Chorazin, and Bethsaida.  But it seems that these places close at five in the afternoon.

As we pulled up to the gate at Tabgha, there were furry creatures climbing all over the dumpster.  They were far too big to be rats, and a closer look revealed that they had long, flexible bodies.  I thought they might be ferrets, but the snout was too blunt and the body too round.  Suddenly, I realized that they were otters.  They were much too fast for us to get a picture, though, scattering as soon as we approached.  They had paused only long enough for us to get a good look, then they were gone.

Galilee Selfie galilee

We went on to Capernaum, but it was also closed.  There was a walking entrance that remained open.  So we went in and walked around the grounds.  We had hoped to see the Jesus’ era synagogue there, but it was behind a razor wire topped fence.  So we took some sunset pictures by the Sea instead.

galilee sunset2

When we returned home, Michael Googled how to blow a shofar (in Spanish), and found a hilarious[2] video on You Tube about how to be a good “shofarista.”  We laughed and blew the shofar and laughed some more.  Our first attempts sounded like a tormented moose or an elephant giving birth, but eventually Michael coaxed a nice sounding blast from the shofar.

All in all it was a wonderful day by the Sea of Galilee.  Who could ask for more?  God is good!

[1] Although I change the names of missionaries and pastors, I have not changed Daniel’s name, since he’s a public figure.

[2] Unintentionally hilarious, which made it all the more hilarious.

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