Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Day 4 (Part 4): Capernaum & Yardenit

Capernaum (clipped from here)

Capernaum is an ancient fishing village on the north shore of the Sea of Galilee in Israel. It is home to a celebrated Byzantine-era synagogue as well as the house where Jesus healed a paralytic and St. Peter's mother-in-law.

In the Bible

Capernaum is not mentioned in the Old Testament, which is natural since archaeological evidence shows that it was uninhabited until the 2nd century BC.

Capernaum is frequently mentioned in the Gospels and was Jesus' main base during his Galilean ministry. It is referred to as Jesus' "own city" (Mt 9:1; Mk 2:1) and a place where "he lived" (Mt 1:13). He probably chose it simply because it was the home of his first converts, Peter and Andrew (Mk 1:21,29).

They went to Capernaum, and when the Sabbath came, Jesus went into the synagogue and began to teach. The people were amazed at his teaching, because he taught them as one who had authority, not as the teachers of the law....

As soon as they left the synagogue, they went with James and John to the home of Simon and Andrew. Simon's mother-in-law was in bed with a fever, and they told Jesus about her. So he went to her, took her hand and helped her up." (Mark 1:21-22, 29-30)

Many familiar Gospel events occurred in this village. Capernaum is where Jesus first began to preach after the Temptation in the wilderness (Mt 1:12-17) and called Levi from his tax-collector's booth (Mk 2:13-17). It was while teaching in the synagogue of Capernaum that he said, "Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day." (Jn 6:54)

Capernaum is where Jesus healed a centurion's servant without even seeing him (Mt 8:5-13; Lk 7:1-10), Peter's mother-in-law (Mt 8:14-15; Mk 1:29-30); the paralytic who was lowered thorugh the roof (Mk 2:1-12), and many others who were brought to him (Mt 8:16-17). And it was Capernaum that Jesus had set out from when he calmed a storm on the Sea of Galilee (Mt 8:23-27).

Jesus was harsh with his adopted home when it proved unrepentent despite his many miracles. "And you, Capernaum, will you be lifted up to the skies? No, you will go down to the depths. If the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Sodom, it would have remained to this day. But I tell you that it will be more bearable for Sodom on the day of judgment than for you" (Mt 11:23-24).

Ruins of an old synagogue

Ruins of Peter's Mother-in-law's home. Its octagonal in shape.

You can view the house from inside the church, looking down from a glass

Ruins of ancient houses


Yardenit is a place where people go for Baptism in the River Jordan. Its full of tourist from all over the world, wanting to be baptised in the Jordan river. That's where Jesus was baptised. If you have already been baptised previously, you can do a "reconfirmation".

A priest baptising at the Yardenit

Kevin getting baptised by Ps Leslie

I had to get some water from the Jordan River as souvenir.

After the Baptism session, I went to the Souvenir shop to look at some of the products. I was keen to purchase some dates and dates honey. Its was about USD15 for 3. I wanted to mix the two rather than buying all three of the same thing. I approached a young Israeli man to ask him if I could do that.

He said, "Yes". But I was undecided, so, I turned to walk off. He was really very nice and probably a real extrovert. He said, "Don't be shy. You can ask me some more questions, if you want". I was thinking to myself, "My he is a very friendly guy". So, we started talking and he asked me which country I came from. He was surprised that I was so young because most of the Malaysians who visits are old and serious. Whist he thinks I am young and very friendly.

Just about then, Ps Leslie walked pass and said, "Tsk tsk tsk. Married woman talking to young, hunk of a guy..." *turning-his-head-in-disapproval-and-point-his-index-finger-in-an-accusation -tone." I felt tickled by his reaction. Ps Leslie is really a very funny and down-to-earth person. We hanged out a lot throughout our trip.

That the end of Day 4. Phew! We covered a lot and its time to go back to the hotel to rest.

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1 comment:

Kellan said...

WOW, you give the very best tours - how wonderful!! And the baptism was very nice - so neat to have done that! Have fun and I am so enjoying your trip! Kellan