Middle East Travel Seminar: Following Jesus around the Sea of Galilee

  1. Our Middle East Travel Seminar has landed!
  2. Middle East Travel Seminar: A great day in Amman
  3. Middle East Travel Seminar: Surprising spiritual moments
  4. Middle East Travel Seminar: Petra and an epic storm
  5. Middle East Travel Seminar: Little Petra and glamping(?)
  6. Middle East Travel Seminar: Our trek from desert to sea
  7. Middle East Travel Seminar: Sacred ground above the Dead Sea
  8. Middle East Travel Seminar: Scrolls, mud, salt and temptation
  9. Middle East Travel Seminar: Entering the stomping grounds of Jesus
  10. Middle East Travel Seminar: Following Jesus around the Sea of Galilee
  11. Middle East Travel Seminar: Our incredible journey in Galilee continues
  12. Middle East Travel Seminar: Turning toward Jerusalem 
  13. Middle East Travel Seminar: Diverse cultural perspectives in Roman-era Zippori
  14. Middle East Travel Seminar: A day of memory, history, hope… and sweets!
  15. Middle East Travel Seminar: The Western Wall, Temple Mount, and Dome of the Rock


Our day started with a boat ride on a calm Sea of Galilee with a light breeze (top photo). It was a warm sunny morning, but a hazy sky covered the mountains. Being in the region of Jesus’ ministry, we had the boat stop for us to worship together with a meditation on the story of Jesus feeding 4,000 people (Mark 8:1-10; 14-21) followed by communion. We also learned that archaeologists discovered a fishing boat in the Sea of Galilee during a drought that is from the first century CE.

Upon reaching shore, we went by bus to the Mount of the Beatitudes on the Galilee mountains overlooking the Sea of Galilee. We listened to the reading of Matthew 5:3-10 at the traditional site believed to be the place where Jesus taught the Beatitudes to the people.

We continued our journey to Tabgha to see the first century mosaic of bread and fish to remember the story of Jesus feeding 4,000 people. It is located in the Church of Heptapegon (The Seven Springs), erected in the 4th century, and believed to be the site of this miracle that followed Jesus teaching the people and healing the sick.

In Tabgha, we also visited the Church of the Primacy of Peter erected on the site believed to be where the resurrected Christ appeared to Peter and six other disciples. We listened to the stories read from the 21st chapter of the Gospel of John which resurrected hope to the disciples. Afterward, many of us walked down to the shoreline to meditate as some desired to feel the water of the Sea of Galilee on their feet where Jesus may have done as well.

In front of the altar in the church, there is a large block of stone around which the church was built. It is believed to be the place where Jesus, in John 21, had started a fire and invited his disciples to bring some of their catch to be grilled.

After lunch, our final visit took us to Capernaum where Jesus also carried out his ministry. It was a bustling city of three-to-five thousand people, a hub of commerce for caravans of traders. It was a crossroads for Jews and Gentiles. Jesus taught in the synagogue that now lies in ruins destroyed by an earthquake in the 2nd century CE. We also saw the excavation of Peter’s mother-in-law’s house that Jesus visited following an exhausting day of healing many people (Matthew 8:14-17). Upon arrival, Jesus learned that Peter’s mother-in-law was in bed with a fever. Jesus touched her and she was cured.

Despite temperatures that reached 104 degrees, the day proved to be spiritually meaningful for all of us who visited significant events in Jesus’ ministry.

David Anderson is an alumnus of Union.