The Galilee Experience: Meeting Jesus Here
Waking up at dawn isn’t something on most travelers’ to-do lists; except when it means taking in a tranquil sunrise and spending your morning where Jesus chose to spend much of His adult life. Imagine looking up from your Bible to gaze on the same landscape that Jesus saw every day. For Christian pilgrims hoping to follow in the footsteps of Jesus, often, no place brings them closer.
Today, Galilee is a popular resort region nestled in the backdrop of the Golan mountains. Its rolling green hills and deep azure waters allow visitors to relax and recharge. And while the lush beauty of the area is undeniable, the Galilee is primarily known for what happened here two thousand years ago. Jesus, who grew up in nearby Nazareth, spent the majority of His years in ministry teaching along these shores. Consider just a few of the events recorded here:
- Jesus is baptized in the Jordan River—Matthew 3:13-17
- Jesus turns water to wine at Cana—John 2:1-12
- Jesus teaches in the synagogue at Capernaum—Luke 4:31-36
- Jesus delivers the Sermon on the Mount—Matthew 5:3-11
- Jesus heals a blind man in Bethsaida—Mark 8:22-26
- Jesus calms the wind and waves—Matthew 8:26
- Jesus feeds the five thousand—Matthew 14:13-21
- Jesus walks on water—Matthew 14:22-36
- Jesus is transfigured on nearby Mount Tabor—Matthew 17:1-13
Of the thirty-three miracles documented in the New Testament, nearly a third of them took place in or around Galilee. In fact, the village of Capernaum is described in the Bible as being Jesus’ “own town” (Matthew 9:1)—making it something like His ministry headquarters. It’s no wonder this region holds such a rich deposit of Christ’s presence.
Can you picture yourself not just reading your Bible in this place, but experiencing the Savior so tangibly you feel yourself among the crowds who heard His voice, believed His message and witnessed His miracles? Here, where He called His disciples to follow Him, His voice still calls today.
Vivid Experiences, Serene Setting
While our tour days in this region are filled with unforgettable moments like reading from the Sermon on the Mount of Beatitudes, one of the most spiritually moving experiences occurs on the lake itself, during a boat ride on the Sea of Galilee.
First, we visit Nof Ginosar and its museum dedicated to the “Jesus Boat” excavated around 30 years ago. This small, wooden vessel was discovered in 1986, and represents a typical fisherman’s craft from the first century. This would have been the type of boat Peter, John and Andrew were using when Jesus first approached them and said, “Follow me.”
After that, we join up for a boat ride on the Sea of Galilee. We hear time and time again from passengers who board the boat thinking they’re in for merely a nice sailing experience, getting some fresh air in a beautiful place. It always turns into something more. A worship experience. A moving time of prayer. An encounter with God. There’s a deeply emotional transformation that takes place when a Believer sets out on the peaceful waters of the Sea of Galilee. Nadia, a recent passenger on one of our Israel tours recounts, “It is unbelievable to be in boats on the Sea of Galilee...singing and shouting from the depth of our hearts to the Lord. I am sure He was there. It felt like Heaven.”
This awe-inspiring landscape truly helps travelers connect with the countless biblical stories that took place here. You imagine being a disciple and gasping as you see Jesus walking on water. You imagine being tossed about in the frightening waves of a storm before Jesus brings the wind and noise to a standstill. You imagine casting a net into the calm waters and being hurtled to the side as your boat nearly capsizes because of the miraculous haul of fish. These resonant moments of serenity challenge Believers’ faith and become a highlight of every Israel tour.
You could find yourself experiencing the stories of the New Testament in a way that changes how you read the Bible—and completely transforms your faith. Who’s ready to follow in Christ’s footsteps?