Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Day 2 - Boat trip, mensa Christi, Capernaum.

This started out with a visit to a museum at Capernaum with a roman era boat, found in the mud during a drought period, in the sea of Galilee. Construction looked like it might be related to the 3400 YO boat at Bodrum that we saw last year from what I remember but may be entirely different when you actually get down to engineering details. The museum with the boat is interesting, but feels limited - archaeology-lite, compared to what one might expect.

Then off on a boat trip across the SoG – the Christian package tour equivalent of a camel ride. The guys running the boat try to provide what it is assumed people want, with a local man singing worship songs over backing tracks, national anthems for both Brits and Yanks, a brief nice bit where the motor & music was shut off in the middle of the lake and then more singing & readings by our group, followed by a fishing demonstration and dancing to Israeli pop. Afterward everyone commented how nice the silence was, but perhaps the noise was needed to emphasise the silence?

Next to the top of the hill of the sermon on the mount (probably) walking to the bottom down what had once been a path, now a broken-surfaced farm track. By this time the day was very hot and we were a bit gaspy, and we stopped under a shady tree by a monument to have readings etc.

Lunch was St. Peters fish for those who fancied it and chicken for those who did not.

Immediately after lunch we went to the Mensa Christi chapel at Tabgha where Jesus may or may not have set up a barbecue for the disciples after His resurrection. I’m told the water level is much lower than it was 30 years ago when so of the group last saw the place. Here there was more scriptures, singing, breaking bread. Many found it significant.

Finally on to Capernaum (the guide pronounced it coppernum) with more ruins and a building described by one of the group as a ‘flying saucer’ over an old dwelling that was pretended to be Peter’s house. The ruins were modest but OK as ruins go, and typical of things we’ve seen elsewhere. The interior of the flying saucer church was bright & spacious, looking reasonably attractive in a religious sort of way, even if jarringly inappropriate to the humble home that had once existed below. In retrospect, while I appreciate the idea of these building may be to magnify the glory of something ordinary, they are simply out of place with their ostentatious displays of riches and demands for ‘respect’.

However we had a treat in store, with an early end to the touring and a chance for a dip in the hotel pool and a swim in the lake itself. For the first time in nearly a week I slept well that night.

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