Another beautiful day is Israel. Fortunate for us but not so fortunate for the Israelis as they would like rain! It was sunny and cool but warm in the sun. So after breakfast, which was different than our previous hotel and more continental less Mediterranean, we headed out to the city of I'billin to meet with the Melkite Catholic Archbishop Elias Chacour. He was a wonderful speaker with stories that both educated and entertained. Glenn was so enamored that he bought 3 of his books and had them signed. He spoke for almost 2 hours but the time went fast. He talked about his life story and shared his struggles, frustrations and successes in Israel. One of his comments was on the Jordan river. He said, "More ink has been used to write about the Jordan river than water in the river." So I guess what we saw yesterday was typical. He didn't speak very highly of George W. Bush (that is a really nice way of saying he actually slammed him pretty good.) and one of his comments about him was, "He thought he was a big tree but he forgot that he was only a tiny little bush." He talked about forgiveness and working together. He also was very clear that we should not hate the Israelis for what they are doing because it is not all Israelis. Hmmm sounds like he could talk to a lot of people about making blanket comments about any particular race or religion or sexual orientation or any kind of difference. As I said the time flew by but it did make us tight on schedule for the rest of the day.
After we left I'billin we drove to the Sea of Galilee for lunch. We ate at a restaurant named St. Peter's right on the shores and had.... fish. The kind of fish is the same kind they have been getting out of the Sea of Galilee for thousands of years. Now they call them St. Peter's fish. It was very good and with lots of hummus and pita and other salad stuff our meal was complete. After eating we walked down on the shore. The sea is really a lake but a very pretty lake. We didn't have much time to explore and hurried back to the bus to go to Peter's Primacy which is where Jesus asked Peter 3 times if he loved him and then told him to feed his sheep. This is also where the fishermen had been fishing all night and caught nothing and Jesus tells them to throw the net on the other side and they catch 153 fish. Inside the chapel here is a large rock where Jesus supposedly fed the disciples. Here we had a chance to go down to the sea and look around a bit more.
Next came the Mt. of the Beatitudes. Guess what happened here? Well, anyway there was a chapel up on top of the mount where Jesus gave his famous sermon on the mount. It was a simple chapel and very peaceful. The view was beautiful and we did have just a few minutes to enjoy. We gathered for a group picture with the Sea in the background and Glenn was able to be in it too using the little remote triggering device. After which we hurried back to the bus yet again. Sometimes I get so caught up in what we are seeing and then it hits me that we are talking about Jesus actually being here and doing things that I have read about my whole life. It gets a little freaky at times and other times I can see it.
We drove down to another part of the Sea and boarded a wooden boat for a ride. It was very peaceful on the boat and we had a moment of prayer and singing. It was rather funny as we were leaving we got certificates for riding on the "Jesus Boat" on the Sea of Galilee. Just a bit silly but we are official now I guess. Here at a kibbutz a few years back when the lake was extraordinarily low, they had found a wooden boat buried and preserved in the mud that was over 1000 years old. They put into special chemicals to preserve it and had it encased in special stuff. Way cool that they found it and were able to preserve it.
We had an hour bus ride back to the hotel with a late dinner here at the hotel which was nice since we are all getting tired of on again off again! We had chicken for dinner along with all the typical salad stuff and it was just too much food. But for dessert we had a traditional Palestinian dessert of a very, very soft sweet cheese and as the guy described it a hairy pastry crust. It also had a sweet sauce and macadamia nuts on top. It was different but good. Not too sweet. After dinner it was packing time again as tomorrow we head back to Jerusalem for the next two nights.