Chandler’s Holy Land Travelogue: Day 4

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

To call our leader "our tour guide" is far too small a metaphor for his role. Uri, the son of a rabbi, has encyclopedic knowledge of his country, Israel. And he is a very good student of the Bible. He is a Reform Jew, passionate, open-hearted, honest, and generous. He is offering a coherent and often unapologetic story of Israel, as well as a gracious and welcoming introduction to our representatives of three faiths. He is a gem.

What of the myriad things I have seen can I tell you about? 

The small boat discovered in the mud along the shore of the lake, which turned out to be a fishing vessel from the first century. It was carefully conserved, reconstructed, and now holds a primary place in a museum right near our kibbutz. Very clear evidence of the very years of Jesus’ life in Galilee. The boat could hold ten, with clearly place enough to fall sleep in the back! Big, stable: amazing work of conserving it. And, as Uri says, “Sometimes here you don’t need to close your eyes to imagine the past, but you can open your eyes to see it.”

One enduring image from Capernaum was the short distance between the synagogue and what was claimed as Peter’s house, already a pilgrimage site in the second century. It was literally a stone’s throw from the synagogue. Mark 1, which references both sites, is newly alive for me. I went down to the water there and touched the Sea of Galilee. There was the sounds of birds. People talking and making the noise of work. It’s a real life now. It was a real life then.

Don’t miss your real life. It is all around you and it is infused with holiness. It is, my friends. It is. 

Grace and peace,