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Caesarea Philippi, Tel Dan, the Golan Heights, and the Sea of Galilee

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Today the Insight for Living Ministries’ Israel tour pointed its buses north towards the Golan Heights and several significant biblical sites. On our way north, we passed Tel Hazor and I thought of when Joshua conquered the city in his day. Our time in the Golan Heights included a visit to Caesarea Philippi.

Caesarea Philippi

(Photo: Caesarea Philippi)

The site has been identified in Scripture with the names Baal-gad (Joshua 11:17; 12:7; 13:5), Baal-hermon (Judges 3:3), and Caesarea Philippi (Matthew 16:13).

Jesus brought His twelve disciples all the way up to the pagan region of Banias/Caesarea Philippi and asked them the question:

Who do people say that the Son of Man is? —Matthew 16:13

We also toured the amazing site of Tel Dan and saw the beautiful panorama of the Golan Heights. (Read more about these sites below.)

Floating Where Jesus Walked

We competed the day with a boat ride on the Sea of Galilee. All 700 of us!

Sea of Galilee boat ride

(Photo: Sea of Galilee boat ride)

The most striking place in Galilee has to be the Sea that bears its name. And the most striking time to see the sea? Sunrise . . . for sure.

Each morning we stayed by the Sea of Galilee, I’ve seen the sun rising over the Golan Heights. Sunrise on the Sea of Galilee flattens all objects into silhouettes and paints the sky a murky red. As the sun peeks over the eastern hills, it draws a line of light from the distant shore straight across the water to wherever you stand—and follows you like a spotlight.

Sunrise on the Sea of Galilee

(Photo: Sunrise on the Sea of Galilee)

The Sea of Galilee was—and still is—notorious for unexpected storms. A squall in March 1992 sent 10-foot-high waves crashing into downtown Tiberias, causing significant damage.

In the dark, early morning, sometime between 3 and 6 a.m., Jesus came to His disciples by “walking on the sea” (Matt. 14:25; Mark 6:48; John 6:19). But instead of expecting their miracle-working Lord, the dozen on board assumed Jesus was, of all things, a ghost!

He comforted them in reply, got in the boat and stilled the storm. Then Mark wrote what has always seemed an unusual line to me: “They were utterly astonished, for they had not gained any insight from the incident of the loaves, but their heart was hardened” (Mark 6:51-52). They hadn’t learned a thing. Consequently, they had no idea what to expect!

If we’re honest, I think we’ll see that we resemble these men. The unrealistic expectations they had, which Jesus revealed, we also store in abundance. We have our agenda for how best to “serve God.” All other events—especially storms—just get in the way.

Continue Your Tour!

Learn more about each of these sites, including devotionals for each one, by exploring these links:

See My Pictures from the Tour—and on the Map!

Check out my pictures of our tour. I’m adding to the collection daily, so be sure and check each day’s post. Click the locations on the map below to see pictures from that site.

(Can’t see my pics? Just click here and select a post.)


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