The majority of Jesus's 3 year ministry took place near Galilee. Our first stop was the Ancient Galilee Boat a fairly recent find of a boat that dates back to near the time of Jesus. From the museum we headed out into the sun and down to the pier to sail on the Sea of Galilee. I think for many people in our group this was the first "I'm really in Israel" moment. There is no disputing the Sea of Galilee. It is definitely a "class 1" place, as Peter would say. On the boat, we read aloud the scripture from Matthew 14: 22-33 where Jesus walks on the water:
"Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone, and the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it. Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear. But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.” “Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?” And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”
We then headed into the Golan Heights, we were close enough to Lebanon that we could see it. We had an opportunity for a brief nature walk at Banias Falls (home of the self-proclaimed "most beautiful trail in Israel") and then headed to the Temple of Pan which was also Caesarea Philippi in biblical times. My biggest memory from the Temple of Pan? The fig trees, which made the whole area smell sweet and delicious.
Reading Matthew 16: 13-20 at Caesarea Philippi
"When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” Then he ordered his disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Messiah. "
Mark 2: 1-5