There's more to be said than this writer has energy for this evening. As stated in the previous post, we landed about 5:00 this morning, checked in and freshened up at the hotel where we were supposed to sleep if we had arrived as scheduled the evening before, boarded the bus and headed out.
The first stop was Ceasarea (I'll do my darnest to spell things correctly but there seem to be several names for some of the places and then there are also variations on spellings and pronunciation), just a short drive north of our hotel along the shore of the Mediterrean Sea. Evidence shows that Herod the Great loved to build things, he was a big dreamer. So he build this more or less man-made deep harbor and bustling city of commerce with a temple to honor the Roman government (Ceasarea being a name chosen for Ceasar the Emperor of Rome at the time), a hippodrome, an amphitheater, and a palace for himself with a dining room on the water front and a swimming pool down at the shore of the sea. The amphitheater has been restored looking toward the sea and is used today for concerts and other promotion.
Our leader, Monte, told us that one very important historical feature of Ceasarea is that it's essentially where Christians were first called Christians. At first most of the followers of Jesus were Jews and they remained Jews who believed in Jesus. Later non-Jews started to follow Jesus and the name evolved. Ceasarea seemed to be the focal point of this transition. At one of the stops of the tour - a stop is when we are all gathered together, Monte talks about what we are seeing for awhile and then gives us a few minutes for pictures before we move on - Monte started to tell us that the ruins where we stood was probably where Paul was imprisoned before being sent to Rome and his death. Just as Monte started to told, Nancy Becker tried to sit on one of the ruined walls and missed, falling to the ground and bumping her head. It took a little time to get her cared for so the schedule was shoved back again. She rested in the bus parts of the rest of the day. Basically she manifested what all of us felt after nearly 48 hours without real restful sleep and a regular schedule.
After wrapping up in Ceasarea we headed to Tiberias on the Sea of Galilee, specifically the mount on which it is believed that Jesus delivered the Sermon on the Mount. Of course, it's only theory but a solid one so the Catholics have built a church there overlooking the Sea of Galilee. It appears that many small groups reserve small meeting spaces, either outside or in, to conduct worship experiences. Monte led us in communion. About four or five other groups were celebrating similar services in several languages including one in sign language. The church was octagonal with a side for each beatitude and an altar in the center. The Catholics care for the facilities and provide the elements for communion.
We hurried onto the bus because we were still behind schedule and we were scheduled for a boat crossing of the Sea of Galilee. The forecast for tomorrow is rain but the rain obliged us early and provided us with wind and rain during our crossing, maybe like the wind and rain when Jesus calmed the sea. It was late and dark enough that we saw several fishermen out in their boats. It's tradiational, even from the time of Jesus, to fish at night.
Back on the ground, the winds were calm and we headed to the hotel for an extensive feed, doing our homework for tomorrow and a good night's sleep.