Day Three of my recent trip to Israel and Jordan included visits to several important New Testament sites, including the Jordan River.
This baptismal site on the Jordan River was actually the last stop of the day. Capernaum, the place where Jesus cast out demons and healed the sick, including Peter’s mother-in-law, was first on the agenda.
These ruins in Capernaum are what’s left of the temple built in the third century over the synagogue where Jesus taught while in the town. Jesus chose Capernaum as the center of his public ministry in Galilee after he left Nazareth.
The disciple Peter lived in Capernaum with his wife, daughters, and mother-in-law. It’s likely that Jesus resided at times with the family. The Statue of Peter with the Sea of Galilee in the background commemorates Peter’s connection to the town.
Near Capernaum is the location of the Sermon on the Mount. As with the temple built over the site of the synagogue where Jesus taught, there is a church at the likely location of this famous sermon. It’s appropriately named The Church of the Beatitudes and was built in 1938.
“And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him…” (Matthew 5:1). More meaningful to me than the Church of the Beatitudes is the surrounding area, a setting much like the one where Jesus delivered the Sermon on the Mount.
“And he opened his mouth, and taught them saying,” (Matthew 5:2)
This excavated and restored two-thousand-year-old boat in a museum near the Sea of Galilee is much like one Jesus and his disciples would have used in their travels. In fact, a sign declares that “mystery” surrounds the boat. Was it a boat Jesus used or simply one owned by a fisherman?
I can picture Jesus and his disciples on the waters of the Sea of Galilee. I can imagine Jesus in these surrounding mountains when he needed time alone with God.
Although miles away from where Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist, this site on the Jordan River draws those wanting to be baptized or rebaptized in the same river as Jesus.
My husband and I stood with our good friends in the waters of the Jordan River. It was yet another spiritual experience on a day spent following the footsteps of Jesus.
In my next posting, I’ll talk about the journey to Jerusalem.