Blogging from the Holy Land: Day Two

To say I’ve done things that I never would have before is an understatement. It goes far beyond that. Being in the Holy Land is changing me, and it’s changing my perspective on many things. I’ve tried new foods, sailed on the Sea of Galilee (I’m not a boating fan), and rode a cable car to the top of a 1,300 ft. high mountain (I’m not a fan of heights either), attended a reception for international journalists, and have spent hours in a van trekking a foreign country with people I’d never met before.

mensa christi
The “mensa Christi” at the Church of Peter's Primacy, where Jesus is believed to have fed the 5,000.  Photo by Marge Fenelon

Israel is changing me, and it’s for the better.

Practically speaking, I’m learning to shift quickly to new situations and adapt when things don’t work as expected. I’m becoming more and more aware of the strength and stamina required for Jesus to carry on his ministry and the Biblical stories I’ve heard since childhood are coming to life. The Bible is no longer a book to me; it’s a living reality.

Take, for example, the Church of Peter’s Primacy on the shore of Galilee. It marks the spot where the Risen Christ welcomed the Apostles back to shore and fed them breakfast. Inside the Church is the rock upon which our Lord served his friends. Or, the Church of the Multiplication just down the shore where Jesus multiplied the loaves and fishes for the 5,000. That church has a piece of the rock on which Jesus performed the miracle nestled under the altar. I’ve cried many times at the places we’ve visited, but that one really turned on the waterworks. I could feel the love of Jesus for his sheep, and I could picture him so lovingly laying the fish and loaves of bread on the rock so that his people could have something to eat, knowing that soon he would give them himself as sustenance. Those aren’t Scripture passages to me any longer.

The Sea of Galilee is Israel’s largest freshwater lake.  Photo by Marge Fenelon

My mantra continues to be, “Jesus, show me,” and he certainly is. At each site, it’s becoming easier to see and feel what happened there 2,000 years ago and the importance is has on all of our lives.

One of the best moments so far was on the Sea of Galilee. Standing on the bow of the boat, I could look to shore and spot the places Jesus ate, slept, worked, taught and prayed. I could look across the sea and see other boats making their way over the water and could imagine Jesus sailing with his disciples. It was like have our Lord’s life unfold before my eyes. 

The Jordan River was awesome, and much different from the way I’d pictured it. It was far more green and lush. To this day, people come to the Jordan, don robes, and go into the water to be baptized. It’s a lovely, peaceful place. Sadly, we couldn’t go to the place at which Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist because the pope was coming there around the same time, and it was closed off. On the other hand, it was a reminder that there still are great things to come on this trip.

I can’t wait to see what Jesus has to show me next.

Marge Fenelon is a freelance writer for OSV Newsweekly. Follow her on Twitter @MargeFenelon.

Read 'Blogging from the Holy Land: Day One'