Walking on Water: Nazareth & Galilee Tour

Posted: March 10th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: ATW Updates | No Comments »

Israel has a lot of places holy to the Christian faith outside of Jerusalem.  While I wanted to avoid Bethlehem because crowds & I don’t mix well, we did decide to go on a Nazareth & Galilee tour departing from Tel Aviv.  A bus picked us up across the street from our hotel, and then we were transferred in a larger bus.  Our tour guide was a middle-aged man with a sly sense of humor (which Rick always appreciates) who not only gave us a lot of great information, but drove as well.  Much kudos since I can’t even talk on the phone and type at the same time. 



We started in Nazareth, visiting the church built on top of Mary’s house where the Annunciation (when the Angel announced to Mary she was to bear a child) took place.  The church has colorful stained glass windows which give off a reddish glow to the interior that makes it look quite otherworldly.  Mary’s childhood stone house is at the center.  It looks simple in contrast with the extravagant church surrounding it. 

Nearby, is the home that Mary, Joseph, and Jesus lived & worked in.  It’s quite a simple series of rooms.  I’m assuming Joseph also came from the nearby area, but I’ve noticed no one talks about him much.  I once played Mary in a church nativity play and had a major crush at the time on the guy who played Joseph (mostly because he was pretty much the only boy around my age who spoke to me on a regular basis), so Joseph (the father of Jesus) has always been of interest to me.  I think he gets short shrift in terms of people becoming giddy over him, which is a shame.  I mean, he had to be a pretty upstanding guy when his fiancée came to him and basically said, “I’m pregnant.  But, I swear I’m still a virgin,” and he still tried to do the right thing by her.  (The angel dream probably helped too.)  Ok, enough about Joseph.  Onwards!


Church of the Multiplication


Lighting prayer candles.

On the way to the Church of the Multiplication, we drove by Megiddo where the Apocalypse is supposedly going to take place.  It looks like a normal mountainous region, nothing spectacular.  But then again, most battlefields don’t.  And the battle hasn’t taken place yet anyhow.

The Church of the Multiplication is on the site where the miracle of the fish & bread supposedly took place.  This is according to Emperor Constantine’s mom who wandered around Israel building churches on what she deemed to be the sites of the important events of the Bible & then taking the choice bits back to Rome.  There’s actually a rock near the altar where the miracle took place but when we arrived, it was fenced off due to being defaced by tourists.  Oh tourists, the singular greatest cause of troubles to other tourists.  Regardless, it’s a lovely church to visit. Don’t miss the original Byzantine-era mosaics on the floor of the church.  Gorgeous. 


Sea of Galilee


Tilapia! I’m pretty sure they didn’t eat fries during Jesus’ time though.

Since we’d just visited the Church of the Multiplication in which we spent a while talking about bread & fish, we stopped for lunch afterwards.  Of course, we had to enjoy the tilapia (the fish said to be used in that miracle).  Those less into fishy foods, enjoyed chicken kebabs instead.  While we ate, we enjoyed the view of the Sea of Galilee.  Afterwards, we frolicked on the edge of the large sea.  Rick decided to walk on water, in homage to the miracle of Jesus walking on the water.  We had to attempt it in a less holy manner since Rick didn’t have any clothes to change into in case his faith failed.  The water is so clear and clean-looking.  We could’ve probably enjoyed hanging out there for another hour or two, but we had more to see, so we climbed back on the bus. 


Walking on water.



Capernaum is the site of a ton of miracles, with people getting healed left and right.  No one was healed on our tour (at least none that I know of).  However, we enjoyed seeing the Roman ruins, especially a large synagogue built in the style of a Roman temple.  The Jewish symbolism is woven into all the decorations, very subtle and quite surprising once you spot it. 

Jordan River


Finally, we ended our tour at the Jordan River.  What is most surprising about the Jordan River is how tropical it looks.  Ok, it makes sense there’s vegetation everywhere because it’s a large river, but I’d always pictured it being a desert.  Instead, if you plonked me on a boat in the middle of the river, I’d feel like I was back on the Jungle Cruise ride at Disneyland (minus the animatronic animals).  You can get baptized just like Jesus in the river, but only wearing a certain white robe that must be rented (or purchased if you want it as a souvenir) from the shop there.  Just be aware that while you’re enjoying your baptism (or swim), there’s actually a video camera that videotapes you the entire time.  Without knowing.  But, of course, you can purchase it afterwards.  The only reason we found out is when I pointed out a video playing onscreen nearby the gift shop to Rick, and then realized that we and a couple of people from our tour group were IN the video.  We didn’t want to splurge on the robes, so we made our way to the edge of the river, as close as we could get without going in, and flicked water over each other’s heads.  The rest of the time, we wandered around enjoying the beautiful landscape.  There’s also a large number of plaques there with the baptism passage from Mark 1:9-11 written on them and translated in practically every language. 

We arrived back in Tel Aviv, late in the afternoon, tired but happy.  It was a good tour by a competent tour guide.  Rick and I always like ending our day knowing we’ve gained some fun knowledge to bombard other people with later. 

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