We started at the Mount of Beatitudes, which overlooked the Sea of Galilee. An enormously peaceful place where we could stay and wander for a while among the gardens and into the church.

Sea of Galilee

From there we had a 50 minute coach journey north along the Route 90, which travels from the southern tip of Israel to the north. The scenery was full of orchards for apples, mangos, oranges, lemons and bananas interspersed with filed of wheat. But quickly this change to more rocky climbs and Hannar explained to us the position of the closeness of Lebanon and Syria. We were 30 miles from Damascus and 50 or so from Beirut. The Golan Heights are quite mountainous and Caesarea Philippi was set at the edge of the mountains.

Caesarea Philippi

A beautiful place with springs and invitingly clear and clean water rushing through toward the Jordan. The old cave and temples of ancient pagan worshippers was the site where Jesus came with his disciples as a turning point in Jesus ministry. He was heading to Jeruslem and Jesus needed to know that his disciples were with him. He asked Peter there if he would look after his church.

St Peter’s Primacy, Lake Galilee

St. Peter’s Primacy, Lake Galilee

I had been to this place five years ago, but each time is special, and this was no exception. We had time to wander and listen to the reading.and time to visit the church which holds the rock that Jesus stood on as he asked Peter three times if he loved him.

It left me wondering if Peter knew what he was taking on?

Lunch! St Peter’s fish

By the afternoon the weather had become warm but there were some strong winds and when we arrived at Capernaum it was good to find some places in the sun. This was the place where Jesus mainly lived and also where he cured Simon Peter’s mother in law. The site of the house is still visible and also the synagogue where Jesus would have prayed. But for me the place to be was at the edge of the lake. I sat on the boulders at the waters edge in the sun and thought and thought. As I sat there the wind calmed a little.

Preparing to cast off!

Our last visit of the day was on a boat on Lake Galilee at 4.30pm. The sun was already low in the sky and as we set out on the wooden boat called Noah our party of 55 sat around the edge and on the plastic chairs.

Wonderful views…and a sit down!

After about 10 minutes we were in the middle of the lake and Bishop of Lynn, Rt Reverend Jonathan Meyrich led us in the reading and a period of silence. A very profound and spiritual time, the boat’s engine was cut, there was no wind and even the waves stopped hitting the boat and only the occasional one was heard lapping at the edge of the boat.

“What sort of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him? Asked the disciples”. Matthew 8: 27

Rev’d Sue Martin

Reflection and new memories…