Saturday, July 17, 2010

Sea of Galilee

Sea of Galilee

It’s a huge body of water, this lake that figures so prominently in our religious imagination and history. It’s a lake. Fresh water, not salt. And did I mention big?

We are at the hospice, run by the Franciscans, on the Mount of Beatitudes. We overlook the Sea of Galilee---and spent most of today around, in or on it.

It’s difficult to condense all of one very powerful day into one experience, but if I had to pick one….

We took a boat ride around the Sea of Galilee---- up to the north side, where Tabgha and the Mount of Beatitudes meet it.

We read John 6: 16-22

As it finished, the boat driver cut the engines and we floated in the lake----all was quiet except for the strong, hot wind that blows across every afternoon. We sat in the water at the foot of the Mount of Beatitudes—and it was that experience that made the day for me. The sense of the boat rocking (Jo said that she now understands why Jesus fell asleep in it!) along with the feeling of being in the wind, with water breaking over the bow-----all I can say is that it was powerful and sublime. I was floating on holy water……..looking up at the Church on the mountain, and wondering what it must have been like to be Peter. I don’t know that I would ask if I could get out of the boat and walk.

Then reality hit as the windsurfers blew by. They love the lake for different reasons. It’s 2010, and not everyone has the same connection to this body of holy water. Jet skiing, windsurfing, and swimming are mostly what happens here—Tiberias is considered a resort town in Israel, and we are here in high season.

They try to keep the north end clear for pilgrims. And the good news is that there are still fisherman who cast their nets.

No comments: