Jesus Waiting

 Peter's Primacy

Peter's Primacy

The City of Tabgha is on the northwest shore of the Sea of Galilee and is the location where John 21 takes place. The Catholics often build a church over important ruins to mark such spots. In Tabgha, the Franciscans built a church called the Church of the Primacy of Peter.

In John 21, Jesus appears to his disciples for the third time after his resurrection; this was in Tabgha. The disciples had gone out during the night to fish, but had caught nothing. In the morning, a man appeared on the shore and suggested they cast their nets on the right side of the boat. As they did, they caught so many fish that they could not drag the net back into the boat.

At this point, Peter recognized Jesus and plunged into the water from the boat to swim to shore. The other disciples followed in the boat, dragging the nets behind them.

 Jesus Boat

When they reached land, Jesus had prepared a charcoal fire for the fish and provided bread; they had breakfast together.

After breakfast, Jesus reinstated Peter (after his three-time denial of Jesus at the crucifixion) with the words, "Feed my sheep." (John 21:15-19)

Inside this church, there is a large rock called the “Table of Christ (Latin: Mensa Christi) near the altar. This is where John 21 is believed to have taken place - where Jesus served His disciples a fish breakfast after waiting for them to land on the shore.

I love that Jesus was on the shore waiting for His disciples. While I stood at this place, I closed my eyes and could hear the soft Galilee waves softly washing over the tiny dark shells and dark rocks there. I could imagine the sizzle of the pan as Jesus waited for the boat to bring in freshly caught fish. I could see a replica of a boat similar to one of that day. I could picture the smoke swirling up from the charcoal fire. I pictured Jesus waiting. Often I think about waiting so long for God to answer some of my prayers. However, I don’t often picture Jesus waiting for me. He is patient and waits for me - just as he enjoyed the morning by the fire waiting for His disciples.

 chains on Sea of Galilee

chains on Sea of Galilee

 St. Peter's Primacy inside church

St. Peter's Primacy inside church

To learn more about Song For Israel's tours to Israel or to sign up for Song For Israel's electronic newsletters, click here.

Wadi Rum - A Jeep and Camel Ride through the Desert where Moses Wandered

Wadi Rum is located in southern Jordan and a place where Song For Israel visits on our annual tours. As we pass the mountain that was filmed in the movie, Lawrence of Arabia, we take the jeep ride into the wilderness where Moses led the children of Israel.

This part of the desert has likely not changed much since the days of Moses, except for a few Bedouin camps scattered here and there. This desert is made up of sandstone and granite rock with sand dunes.

After the jeep ride, we take a camel caravan -- and picture ourselves making this journey for forty years.

No one can be sure of exact locations for some biblical events, as the borders of Jordan have changed many times. However, we know from the book of Exodus that Moses fled from the face of Pharaoh and dwelt in the land of Midian. The path that Moses took in the desert led them through Edom and up through Moab. The scenery doesn't change much at all.

Click here for information on our annual tours to Israel and Jordan.

 

 

 

2019 Israel & Petra, Jordan Tour

April 3 - 14, 2019

 (12-day Jewish Roots tour)

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We invite you to share the experience of a lifetime—a trip to the land of the Bible—where the Patriarchs of our faith walked.  On this 12-day journey, visit Jerusalem with its garden tomb; see the Mount of Olives and the Garden of Gethsemane, and Caesarea by the Sea; visit Megiddo where the Battle of Armageddon will take place, float in the Dead Sea, view the Mt. of Beatitudes; stand on Mt. Nebo where Moses overlooked the Promised Land, get baptized in the Jordan River, take a Cable Car up to Masada, witness Ein Gedi where David fled from Saul; see the Qumran Caves, kayak in the Sea of Galilee, ride a camel in the wilderness where Moses walked, and visit the village of Nazareth where Jesus lived. We will visit Petra, Jordan as well!

Our tour has a "Jewish roots" focus with optional Sabbath (Shabbat) worship services and optional Davidic Dancing opportunities. 

For those interested in more information and who live in the southern California area, we will have Information Meetings where Deby will teach how to count Israeli shekels, distribute a booklet called "Getting Prepared Spiritually" (for the tour), discuss what to pack, and discuss evening options. Please email info@SongForIsrael.org for more information.

For a detailed itinerary and registration form, please click here.

 

Wading Through Hezekiah's Tunnel

When the city was defending itself from the approaching Assyrian army in the 8th century BCE, King Hezekiah decided to protect the water by diverting its flow deep into the city with an impressive tunnel system.  "Hezekiah also plugged the upper watercourse of the Gihon waters and brought it straight down to the west side of the City of David. And Hezekiah prospered in all his works." (2 Chronicles 32:30) 

This engineering feat was accomplished by  digging a 1,750-foot (533 meter) tunnel into the mountain.  An ancient stone carving found near the entrance describes this incredible operation.

Today, trekking through Hezekiah’s Tunnel in knee-high water is a highlight for visitors to Jerusalem. (Taken from Hezekiah's Tunnel  - CityofDavid.org.il).

Higher than my thighs, the water was cold, but easy to get used to. There were times when adults had to bend down a bit as the ceiling was lower in some areas. The width of the tunnel never was more narrow than what you can see in the photos below. Immediately below is the video that was shown prior to our walking through Hezekiah's Tunnel.

We have added a visit to Hezekiah's Tunnel to our annual tour to Israel. For those not wanting to get wet, there is also a dry tunnel that can be walked. Visit our tours by clicking here.

Zedekiah's Cave Near the Damascus Gate

Jerusalem celebrated its 9th annual Festival of Lights where 39 light displays can be viewed as you walk through parts of the Old City.

While at the Damascus Gate, we found Zedekiah’s Cave, where legends seem to abound. The most revered legend about this cave is that it served as a quarry for King Solomon as he built the First Temple. It is true that this cave was a small natural cave until the Second Temple period when it was enlarged into a huge subterranean stone quarry extending under the houses of the Old City.This quarry supplied the stone for many magnificent buildings in Jerusalem. Because legend holds that it was used to construct the First Temple, it was given a nickname of "King Solomon's Quarries."

Another popular legend is that the cave was a hiding place for King Zedekiah (a Judean king, 6th century BC). Biblical commentator Rashi wrote that Zedekiah tried to escape from the troops sent by King Nebuchadnezzar (Babylonian) during the siege of Jerusalem. It is said that there was a cave from the palace of Zedekiah to the plain of Jericho and he fled through that cave. Legend also says that God sent a buck running along the surface of the top of the cave as Zedekiah was walking down below. The soldiers chased the buck and arrived at the exit of the cave just as Zedekiah was coming out, enabling them to capture and blind him. This is how the name of the cave became known as “Zedekiah’s cave.”

All legends aside, there are things we can know for sure about Zedekiah found in 2 Kings 25; 1-7: 

So in the ninth year of Zedekiah’s reign, on the tenth day of the tenth month, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon marched against Jerusalem with his whole army. He encamped outside the city and built siege works all around it. The city was kept under siege until the eleventh year of King Zedekiah. By the ninth day of the fourth month the famine in the city had become so severe that there was no food for the people to eat. Then the city wall was broken through, and the whole army fled at night through the gate between the two walls near the king’s garden, though the Babylonians were surrounding the city. They fled toward the Arabah but the Babylonian army pursued the king and overtook him in the plains of Jericho. All his soldiers were separated from him and scattered, and he was captured. He was taken to the king of Babylon at Riblah, where sentence was pronounced on him. They killed the sons of Zedekiah before his eyes. Then they put out his eyes, bound him with bronze shackles and took him to Babylon.

One can see how a legend may fit this story, but there are plenty of facts that are already known about Zedekiah. 

This cave has been excavated over the years. The entrance of the cave was a natural phenomenon caused by water eroding limestone. But it was found that it was an easy area to quarry so it had been quarried for thousands of years.

Tonight, at the Festival of Lights, there was a grand piano in the middle of the cave with a young man playing it, surrounded by candles. The natural acoustics accentuated the beauty of his music

 

The Cardo in Jerusalem

A cardo is a wide main street in the heart of a settlement or city. This Cardo in Jerusalem was built by Romans starting in 135 AD. It started at the Damascus Gate and heads south to the city center. When it was finished, it extended from the Damascus Gate to the Zion Gate (which was east of the present Zion Gate). The Cardo was 75 feet wide. and had a central road for pedestrian and wagon traffic and two avenues of columns - one on each side. There were typically shops on each side, but in Jerusalem there were shops only on the eastern side in certain parts of the Jewish quarter. 

Today the columns and street can be seen and there are modern shops on either side.