Excerpt from my 2011 Israel journals…

This morning, we went to the Chapel of the Primacy along the edge of the Sea of Galilee. Our guide Hani explained that this church was made of black basalt stone.  DSC00044Hani told us how the Sea is really a lake, and how the original transcribers translated it incorrectly. He called the Sea of Galilee “the lake” all day.

We took pictures and a group photo, and gathered rocks and seashells along the water’s edge. There was a mist above “the lake” that never burned off as the day progressed. We had a gathering together under the trees at a small amphitheatre, and it sprinkled a bit, but the trees protected us.

I was amazed how peaceful the Israeli countryside is. Very serene.

We went to another spot on the Sea of Galilee for a boat ride. It was raining now—a decent, heavy sprinkle–and we were happy to find that our boat had a flat canvas covering over most of the middle to keep us fairly dry. It did not protect us from the wind, however, which was wet and cold as we powered out onto the water.

Biblical Note: This was the water that Jesus walked on.

Today the water was grey and flat, and fairly opaque, and our boat was a large, wooden motorboat that aptly smelled like oil and wet wood. We went to about the middle of the lake and the boatmen cut the engines on cue.DSC00552 It was instantly quiet and peaceful, not even the flat water was lapping, and we had a time of teaching where Hani gave us information and Pastor Farm did a small sermon. We sang a song and then got up from our chairs. [Author’s Note: Singing makes me uncomfortable. It’s something that I need to get over, but it’s low on the list at the moment. In reading that last line, I’m alert to the way I shoved getting “up from our chairs” into a sentence about singing, and how that minimized the singing. We did sing, and we did get up, but I could have written it a million different ways. This is the kind of thing that amuses me.]

The boatmen demonstrated their casting nets to show us how Peter and the other DSC00054Disciples would have done it. These are not drag nets pulled (dragged) behind the boat, but are cast nets that one gathers onto one’s shoulder and then tosses out the side of the boat (i.e., they’re cast). The cast net looks like a spider web with little rocks tied to the outer edges. Hani said the rocks gather together and help close the net as you pull up the fish. He said sometimes the net would catch on something and so it was the job of one of the fishermen to dive into the water and unsnare the net.

Biblical Note: Unsnaring the net was Peter’s job, Hani said, because it says in the Bible [John 21] that after fishing, Peter dressed himself. He was not lounging or sunbathing, Hani said, but rather he was likely the guy who had to jump in the water that day. [Author’s Note: I can’t help but be tickled that Hani pointed out this detail in the writing.]

The boatmen restarted the boat and I was worried that it would get cold again because when the boat stopped, so did the cold, wet wind. But heading back to shore actually seemed much warmer.

Hani explained to us that windsurfing was outlawed on the lake. Only fishermen wereValley of Doves 2 permitted and tour boats like the one we were in. He said the lake is a basin with mountains all around, and authorities realized that the wind traveled across the water, hit the opposite mountains, and reversed itself back over the water—which would capsize anything with a sail.photo

Hani told us that stones that are found in the lake are polished and made into necklaces. Our boatmen sold them from a wooden case and we bought these inexpensive little trinkets because they were beautiful and fun.

We took pictures out on the water and the boatmen played American music for us and we carried on like it was a party. We were no longer stiff, cold, and afraid, but walking (and dancing) freely about the boat…


Jody Brown is the author of Upside Down Kingdom, available on Amazon: dld.bz/bYuX4