On my very first trip to Israel, I was giddy with excitement at every sight we visited; however, the most giddy I’ve ever been in my life is the first morning I awoke on the shores of the Sea of Galilee. I entered the dining room of our hotel, looked out the window, and froze…for there before my very eyes was the same Sea I had read about my entire life. This was the same Sea Jesus walked on. This Sea held a boat which held Jesus. A storm blew here and Jesus commanded the waves and the wind to “Be still!” Jesus and the boys crossed to the other side and back again countless times! Pigs ran off a cliff into this very Sea at the command of Jesus. It was like my life flashed before my very eyes as I in wonder and awe exclaimed to the entire dining room, “WE’RE ON THE SEA OF GALILEE!” No one else seemed nearly as excited as I did as they giggled at my child-like amazement.
Every trip we’ve taken to Israel, every morning I awaken on the shores of this amazing Sea, I awaken before the sun rises, quickly get ready for my day and head to the shores with my Bible in hand to watch the sun rise and listen to the birds sing their symphony of praise to the Great I Am as I stand in utter amazement. I am sure those birds, too, know the Savior of the World lived and ministered right here on these shores!
As you stand on the shores of the Sea in Capernaum, and look back to your right, there is this magnificent view of Mount Arbel. You can’t miss it as it stands in all of its glory and majesty. This very mount is known to be a place where Jesus would travel quite regularly. He would climb to the top of Arbel and overlook the entire Galileen Region. Here, Jesus would get alone by Himself to pray. Can you imagine His heart as He looked over this Sea upon the small fishing communities of Bethsaida, Capernaum, Magdala, and more? His heart must have burst as He discussed with the Father the hurt, the pain, the needs, the hearts of these people and how desperate they were for a Savior, to be set free from their sin and anguish, and for hope.
On the top of Mount Arbel, Jesus could see Via Maris (the ancient trade route that led from Syria to Egypt). The Gentiles, the Jews, so many travelers going past Him. He must have been praying for each soul to come into the freedom that comes with being a Child of God!
When I stand on that same Mount, my heart just bursts too! I stand in the sun while looking to THE SON. All that Jesus did for me, His life, His death, His resurrection, the freedom, the beauty of life, His love for His children, it all overwhelms me on that Mount. What a glorious Savior and Lord He is!
In all the places of the world I have traveled, it is easy for me to say that The Sea of Galilee is hands down my favorite place on earth! It truly is like going “home”.