November 17, 2019

Israel: The Sea of Galilee Area

Continuing my journey through the Holy Land from the head waters of the Jordan to the Dead Sea, my next area of interest is downstream from Caesarea Philippi to the Sea of Galilee.

Between them is a sizable and important marsh. Historically, it has been a flood buffer and a water bank for the Jordan’s flow into the Sea of Galilee. However, the value of this extremely reliable pairing of water and fertile soil was dampened by the ever prevalent danger of mosquito born malaria.

In modern times, the war on malaria and the demand for more and more agriculture has allowed for 90% of the marsh to have been drained. And like many things that we industrious humans have toiled to accomplish, the goals were achieved at a hefty environmental cost.

Now, consider if we humans have changed any over time. Historically, the west coast of Israel was an impassable swamp that all but prevented travel between north and south until the Romans came. They built, as the Romans were famous for doing, bridges and drained swamps for the very same reasons as did modern Israelites. They both wanted easier travel, less mosquitoes, and more agriculture.

Nothing has changed. People then, as now, settle in every valley that has water, to grow food in fertile soil. At times they must defend both. In ancient times they did so with fortifications on the hills. And sometimes this protective influence would have included the control of the major roads for the purpose of taxing its commerce.

Following the Jordan River downstream, we are shown where it descends below sea level. When it enters the Sea of Galilee it will be roughly 700 feet below sea level.  

We see that regardless of the direction a traveler approaches the Sea of Galilee it is approached though valleys surrounded by steep hills. Closer to the Sea, the Jordan River valley widens. Near the Sea on either side of the river is what seems like hundreds of randomly dispersed, weathered looking buildings tightly surrounding the river. I say random because, like almost everywhere else in Israel, the buildings line streets that are oriented to the contour of the land, and not in what appears to be an orderly manner. But in this place, there does not appear to be any reasoning behind the orientation of any one building to another. And as to the community these buildings represent, I was not able to discern a vocational reason for them to be there except it is a valley and there is water.

In this same locale where the Jordan meets the Sea of Galilee, two thousand years ago Jesus mentions two villages - Bethsaida and Chorazin (Khorazin). They were located on either side of the Jordan. Bethsaida means “the place of catching” or the “house of fish”. And it was from there that Jesus recruited the fishermen Peter, Andrew and perhaps even Philip. (Matthew 11:21, Luke 10:13). In and around Bethsaida was where the feeding of the 5,000, Jesus retreat to the “desert place” and the healing of a blind man (Mark 8:22-26) all took place.

It is thought that Chorazin was located about two miles from Bethsaida. What remains of it now are just the ruins of a third or fourth century synagogue and the old town center.

Back then, even though they were under the heel of the Roman boot, they would have had a safe, productive, possibly pleasant life along the Jordan next to the Sea of Galilee. However, like all of us, it is difficult to see the value of Jesus’ ministry when life is comfortable. And so when they failed to respond to his ministry, Jesus cursed the villages. It appears that all that remains of them to this day is a pile of stones at best. We may have visited Bethsaida, but we would not have known it. For even though there is one or two little communities in the same general local with the same name, the ancient city location supposedly remain unknown. Yet some steps have been recently unearthed that may be of the time of David. Perhaps there is a lesson here for those of us living comfortable lives today.

As our bus prepares to cross over the Jordan just before the Sea, our guide alerts us to look left into the river. We get a glimpse of a small platform in the water not far from the highway bridge. On it are about a dozen people dressed in white. We are told that they are preparing to be baptized in this, the cleaner end of the Jordan.

The beautiful Sea of Galilee is now before us. Its quiet blue water is cradled in a valley green with the spring bloom of ample rain. Our tour guide challenges us to imagine the Sea thirty feet higher than it is today. That changes almost everything we see. Not only would the shore line have been much farther up river, our bus and many of the buildings would be under water. Also, with the elevated water level, the ability to traverse between the hills and the Sea would have been all that much more restricted. And narrow places were always good places for toll road taxation.

He also points out that the Sea was healthy enough to sustain a sizable commercial fishing fleet and about nine cities or sizable villages. With the western road carrying several thousand travelers per day two thousand years ago, this would have been a busy place. It is no wonder that the Romans built Tiberius on the western shore as a provincial capital. It's where business would have been done.

Traveling along the western shore of the Sea of Galilee to our hotel in Tiberius, we are asked to consider the Sea’s uniqueness. It is the only body of fresh water in the world that is called a “sea”. It is the only ‘sea’ that is below sea level at 700 feet. It is the only ‘sea’ that is fed and drained by a river that spends most of its time below sea level. And the crowning difference is that the Sea was witness to so much of Jesus’ ministry. The history of all mankind was changed here. And that is why so many are so eager to visit this place.

Tiberius is a vibrant modern Israeli city. But why it is the only city remaining of the nine ancient cities on that shore, I was not able to discover. I would conjecture two things. First, caravans of commerce are no longer required to pass the Sea. And second, the fishing industry appears to have diminished or disappeared along with the 30 feet drop in the water level. The commercial caravans nowadays are no longer donkeys and camels, but bus loads of pilgrims like us and sea side vacationers.  

Tiberius is positioned tightly between the hill and the water on the west side of the Sea. We are told that the Romans developed the site as a capitol for economic, logistical and social reasons. We are told that its exact location was chosen because of its proximity to ancient burial sites. This brought Rome the benefit of the Hebrews they detested avoiding the city, for fear the graves would make them unclean. The abundant cemeteries adjacent to the road are a solid testimony to this story. Our guide tells us that they are so common that most of them have not been properly examined.

Let's fast forward from Tiberius’ construction to post 70 AD Israel. After General Titus destroyed Jerusalem and crushed every last element of the rebellion, we are told that what remained of the Hebrew intellectuals collected in and around Tiberius to reform the Sanhedrin and build places of learning. So how and why could this be? Why would the Hebrews settle in Tiberius if it made them unclean? I’ll share some thoughts, you decide.

First, when General Vespasian, accompanied by his son, General Titus, entered the area with his legions, he did so from the north. It is said that he let his troops rest and “play games” at Caesarea Philippi for 20 days before sweeping away the Hebrew rebellion in the direction of Tiberius and beyond. Therefore, the wrath of the Romans would have already passed through the area. So perhaps ducking behind the line of war was a smart idea.

Second, there is a Jewish historian that proposes that some non-rebellious Jewish leaders negotiated with General Vespasian for an end to the hostilities. They supposedly argued that defeat and death at the hands of the Romans was inevitable, therefore, it was far better to be Roman than dead. So the non-rebellious priests successfully negotiated that the religious leaders be spared. But the rebels steadfastly rejected this premise and held that it was better to die than to become Roman. Wow!

I listened to a Rabbi pose this observation. The non-rebellious priests did not ask for the safety of Jerusalem and its people or even the Temple. This Rabbi admired the priests for seeking to be Roman instead of dead, thus safeguarding the Jews into the future and maintaining the scriptural wisdom from Yahweh. And because the rebels were defeated in their military solution and were annihilated, they failed to secure the future of the Jewish faith. Note however, if you happen to visit Masada, you will see that the rebels are not viewed as failures. Their battle cry is the battle cry of the nation.

Third, whether there was a deal or not, many would have taken refuge behind the walls of Jerusalem and suffered the siege. And many would have also had ample time to flee before being locked in. It is said that many of the Christians in the city did flee and that is why the Hebrews hated them for centuries. Yet, it is obvious that some of the Hebrew intellectuals and priestly class would have also escaped as well, and somehow wound up in Tiberius. So consider this, if there had been a deal for the priests to escape, then their hatred of Christians for doing the same seems odd.

Fourth, Before the Roman army made it to Jerusalem, Titus’ father General Vespasian returned to Rome to become Emperor, leaving Titus in command. After the defeat of Jerusalem, all meaningful resistance was extinguished except for the holdouts that took refuge in Masada. So Titus went east and south to finish what he came to do. Therefore, with his army in the south, perhaps the Hebrews that had escaped Jerusalem felt comfortable fleeing to Tiberius in the north.

Fifth, what other options did they have in the same area? Jerusalem was gone, and there was and remains today nothing of importance between there and Egypt to the south. There were no safe havens along the coast. So besides Tiberius, their only hope would have been escaping across the Jordan River, like David did, and try for Amman, or Damascus. Perhaps Tiberius was the only choice.

It’s fun to think about.

 

Back in Tiberius we find that it is customary to take a boat ride if the weather permits. On this clear calm morning the weather is perfect so 82 of us load onto a wooden boat that has seen better days. We are warned that even though the conditions on the water are now perfect, they can change rapidly. The boat captain tells us that it is the steep hills surrounding the Sea that contribute to the possibility of such radical wind changes. Looking at the eastern shore, I see a situation similar to the coast of Santa Barbara, California. That coast line is also famous for its treacherously fickle wind in the afternoon roaring down the slopes of the mountain behind the town. But on this day, the wind behaved itself.

On the water, I see many similar looking boats that would easily hold two busloads of people doing just what we are doing. As soon as we cast off I discover that it is apparently customary for those boats plying the pilgrim trade to raise the flag of the citizens aboard and sing their national anthem. It seems both respectful and a little strange to me.

It was not much of a trip as water voyages go. We motor out about a mile and drift in the calm air. We offer up a few worship songs to return the focus of our hearts on Christ before there is some appropriate reading of scripture. It is a pleasing experience. After that a crew member demonstrates how fishermen would have thrown a net to catch fish. He gave it a valiant try and we motored on.

As we slowly put-putted north we are afforded time to quietly contemplate the magnitude of the place we are experiencing. I see a couple of water birds but not much else except placid green water. We dock and depart at the north end of the lake and enter the “Jesus Boat” museum. Apparently, as the Sea pulled back from its shores during a drought some time ago, a two thousand year old fishing boat was revealed, [add comma] surprisingly well preserved in the mud. Archeologist entombed it in foam, removed it, preserved it, and build a small museum around it. As an example of how such boats were constructed back then, it is extremely valuable, and for that, it is worth the walk through. However, it is a one item exhibit. We traverse the ever present snack bar and shop as we return to our awaiting buses.

Magdala is our next stop. It is only a short journey along the western shore from the museum. Our buses turn off the main road onto an unassuming side road. We pass a building holding a gas station, and a couple of convenience stores. It’s nothing special, but it is the only commerce in the vicinity. Immediately we park in a dirt lot. The entrance into the excavation area is through a chain link fence next to a small building. It is also not very impressive looking from the outside, but the discoveries on the inside are truly impressive.

Some routine discoveries to be made inside are that Magdala may mean “tower”, but the excavations gives no hint of one. Looking around, a defensive tower does not seem necessary, especially under Roman rule. However, a navigation tower in a fishing village does seem logical and even necessary. If lit at night it would have been visible throughout most of the Sea. And this would help explain the durability of the name Magdala as meaning “tower”.

The next discovery also has to do with the Magdala name in an important biblical context. Historically the Magdala site is thought to have been the birth place and home of Mary Magdalene. Why is she so important? She is important because she was a known follower of Jesus while he still ministered here on earth. But she is far more significant than that for two other facts. She was chosen to be the first to find that the tomb was empty (John 20:1) and Jesus picked her to be the first person to view him after his resurrection (John 20). These two huge events centered around one person, and they most likely took place in this unimpressive looking fishing village.

In the open area from the highway behind us to the Sea below are excavated rock lined pits to salt the fish. Standing in the cool spring breeze I can clearly imagine what it might have looked like. There would have been fishing boats pressing against a shore that would have been 30 feet higher. This would explain why the pits are not that close to the present shore.  I imagine a busy place with men counting or weighing the catch and hauling them away in baskets.

I can also imagine the smell in the crushing heat of the summer with pit after pit of salting fish arrayed around the area. Being a fisherman, I understand the aroma of freshly dead fish and the flurry of activity required to rapidly gut, clean and preserve them while they are still eatable.  I imagine the baskets, the workers and the whole ground area covered by fish scales, slime and unwanted fish entrails. Then there would have been pits or baskets of fish entrails to be buried or carried away by farmers before the sun and flies owned the place. Two thousand years ago, this would have been an industrial level polluted place that people worked in and lived next to. Today, it is an entirely different place. Soon a luxury resort will be completed next to these ancient pits. Soon new people will again be busy living and working here. And a new history will be lived out on top of the old. This is Israel in a nut shell.

To the left of the entrance is a beautifully constructed cover for one of the two stars of the Magdala excavation site. These two things are why we are here. Before us is the outline of the walls and floor of what we are told is a synagogue. Its significance is that it is only one of seven known synagogues in Israel that were active in the second temple period. This means that it is highly likely that Jesus taught here. However the final crowning glory of this site is what is known as the “Magdala Stone” display. On display from the synagogue excavation is a reproduction of the earliest known representation of the seven-branched menorah. It is thought that the artist had copied the one being used in the Temple in Jerusalem.

Our last stop here was a beautiful chapel which featured a small infinity pool in front of a glass wall looking out over the Sea. In the water was a fishing boat like one the disciples might have used. A priest or pastor speaking in a service here would do so from inside of the boat! I exited the bus at Magdala with the low expectation of a routine visit to another displayed pile of stones. I left the place in a state of awe!

After Magdala, a quick turn into the nearby hills and we are asked to look up at a white chapel up on a ridge. It is thought that somewhere up that ridge is where Jesus gave his Sermon on the Mount.

The buses park in a long skinny parking lot and we are escorted into the grounds. We are led past the chapel to a garden beyond and then to one of the reserved teaching areas. Along the narrow pathway we pass a group of monks and nuns returning along the same path. For me, these men and women are the present day legacy of centuries of monastic tradition and the pilgrimages of the past.

We of course arrived in the comfort and safety of a modern bus in a modern Israel. But pilgrims of centuries past would not have been afforded such luxury. Even for the wealthy, a pilgrimage from Europe to this hill overlooking the Sea of Galilee would have been arduous and fraught with danger of injury, disease and bandits. And when the theological politics shifted from Christian to Muslim to Jewish, monks and nuns such as these would have only their faith for their physical protection.

In Southern California there still exists the string of Catholic Missions built during the Spanish era. Around 1834 Mexico broke away from the Spanish and although Catholic, Mexico viewed the missions as more of a Spanish political/military/trade tool than houses of faith. So, distrusting them and being too poor of a country to support them, they shut them down. In San Juan Capistrano, near where I live, the priests stayed on but were no longer protected. Each night they would gather up the valuables of the church, crawl into the attic and pull the ladder in after themselves. Then they would helplessly listen to the thieves ransacking the rooms below. Imagine how difficult that was for them. Now imagine a place like the Beatitudes with the monks watching the fires of destruction approach them. Some would escape and some would stand their ground. They would have buried their monastery valuables I am certain. But they would have had no way to protect the sanctity of their Holy place except with the anonymous sacrifice of their bodies.

There in the peace, safety and beauty of the gardens overlooking the Sea we sing a worship song or two and the Beatitudes are read. Listening to Jesus’ sermon somewhat near to the actual place where it was originally delivered brings his teaching to life.

After, we are allowed a few moments to pray and collect our thoughts as we wander around the gardens, through the chapel and back to the buses. It is interesting that we are advised that the best pictures of the hill ridge and Sea below are behind the dozen or so parked buses.

From up here we can pretty much see the entire physical scope of Jesus’ ministry around the Sea. It is a good place to contemplate the enormous effort he put into this relatively small geographic locale for the purpose of displaying his authority as God so that his message of salvation might be believed. It is from those towns that once flourished below me that he called his disciples to follow him. Jesus ranged up and down the adjoining valleys from here in most all directions until he finally turned south for his appointment with the cross. But following his resurrection he chose his third visitation with his disciples to be somewhere along the Sea within view below me. I am not more that 15 minutes away from that very spot.

Capernaum is the next stop along the way. At the gate we encounter a sign that announces the location as Jesus’ City. Immediately upon entering the gate we realize that this place has the most artifacts to represent life during the time of Jesus so far. Along the entry walk, there is a mostly ignored display of impressive stone components from long ago demolished building. These beautifully carved stones are a clear testimony to the wealth that Capernaum once enjoyed.

In the middle of the excavation our guide lists the components supporting its wealth. First, is location, location, location. The city occupied all of the land between the main highway next to the hill and the Sea below. We are told that the road above the Roman wall to my left was heavily trafficked with taxable travelers a day. This would have kept a tax collector named Mark quite busy. On the Sea side was another busy fishing market. Again, as Caesar owned every fish in the Sea, every catch would be another source of taxation. It was from just such a fish that Jesus acquired his temple tax coin. Within the walls of the city was housed a garrison of Roman soldiers to enforce the safe flow of commerce as well as the collection of taxes. Soldiers, travelers and residents all spend money so merchants prosper.

There are two significant structures in this sizable excavation. The one closer to the water covers an excavation and is advertised as being Peter’s. The other one just across the way is a synagogue with some external walls and some pillars that demand attention. Along the inside of the near wall is a long set of stones of appropriate height and width to sit and receive a teaching. Shade is at a premium along these walls, and even though we were enjoying a cool day, it was not a comfortable place to sit for our teaching. But it is important to linger and absorb the fact that Jesus taught within this space, just not these exact walls. They were erected after Jesus’ time.

We told to file out of what I take to be the back door of the synagogue towards the Roman wall hiding the highway above us. We look down the outside of the wall that faces the entrance gate. It is pointed out that the upper courses of the synagogue’s stone walls are light colored, but the two bottom courses of stone are jet black basalt. Those are the actual walls within which Jesus taught and at that level would be the floor he actually walked upon.

Behind the synagogue is a large open field littered with more stones. I find it interesting that there were dozens and dozens of upper and lower mill stones. The structural stones were mostly light in color. However, the mill stones were all black basalt. The only answer to this must be that it was the basalt that could withstand the friction of grinding grain.

The mill stones are beautifully constructed and from where I stood, they look as useful today as they did two thousand years ago. The bottom elements were all flat on the bottom, perfectly round on the sides with about a 40 degree cone on the top. The bottom elements were much more involved. They were roughly square in overall shape. Carved into the flat bottom was a cone shaped hole that would fit perfectly over the bottom element. On the top of the bottom element another cone was carved into it so that the pointy ends of the cone shaped holes touched with a small opening between the two. And finally, on all four sides of the square top elements were carved square holes to hold poles. The way it worked was ingenious. The top element would live fixed to the cone of the bottom element. Grain would be poured into the open cone at the top. Men or animals would then push on poles inserted into the top elements and rotate it around its axis. The grain would fall into the grinding area and be turned into flour which would be collected as it falls out onto the ground. That there were so many of them in this small area, it strongly testifies to the grain industry that must have thrived here at one time.

Back in our buses, we circled over the top of the Sea to the east side. Considering the whole lake, the east side of the lake was historically not the main choice for commerce and this remains true to this day. Two thousand years ago it had to do with geography and the ease of travel. In addition, crossing the annual flooding of the Jordan as it approached the Sea would have been a dangerous challenge. But we know that towns did thrive and in one area at least, it was based on pig farming.

In recent history, the east side was controlled by Syria from the fall of the Ottoman Empire at the end of WWI until 1967. Between 1948 when Israel became a State and the 1967 war, there was constant tension between the governments on either side of the Sea and their borders. Except for Syrian national pride, political leverage and its undeveloped water access to the Sea I don’t see that the land and its highway held or holds much value.  

While in Syrian control, access to certain east side sites by Christian pilgrims was rarely easy. But all of that changed after the 67 war. Pilgrims like us can now freely take advantage of visiting the meager sites on the east side of the lake.

The first stop on the east side is an Israeli National Park whose main attraction is the remains of a Byzantine era church. The story we are told is that the church ruins were long know to be in the area, but were not discovered until the construction of a new road. The ruins were found under thirty feet of mud. The story continues that the few local Christians that survived had been gathering to worship on the dirt over the ruins for centuries. So to the locals, as our guide tells it, the location was perhaps hidden but never lost. Our guide used this as an example of the accuracy of local tradition in identifying important biblical locations.

Back on the buses we are driven a very short distance further south to a wide spot on the road. A turn-out on a two lane road, if you will. It appears to be a place to perhaps get out and take a picture of the beautiful lake and hills in full spring regalia of green grass, yellow mustard and bright red poppies.

I am surprised to learn that this so happens to be the location of one of my favorite biblical stories. In Matthew 8:28-34 we read of Jesus arriving by boat near this place. On shore he removes a ‘legion’ of demons from a man or two and sends them into pigs.

We get out and lean on the wire fence. Our guide strongly warns us to pay heed to the yellow signs hanging from the wire, and not pass beyond the wire. The little yellow signs clearly warn us of landmines above and below the road. It is a nasty reminder of that latest 67 conflict. But it is also a reminder of the countless time armies of all ages have traversed this Sea valley for the purpose of defense or conquest. Behind this date in history are multiple episodes of violence forgotten in time. Beneath the safe looking yellow flowers and green grasses are thousands of landmines that could be forgotten except for the hundreds of yellow signs. They are mute witnesses to the continued explosive border politics that are politely but lethally buried between the two countries to this day. But on this day we are standing here to personally witness a place where, long ago, Jesus engaged in a Kingdom battle and emerged victorious. Two thousand years ago, he gave the local residents a glimpse of the deity of Christ. And it seems to have terrified them so much that they asked Jesus to leave. Can you imagine the consequences of asking God to abandon you?

Our guide sweeps his arm over the valley from one end of the Sea to the other. And on a day of good visibility like this, the whole sea is visible. He has us take notice that we are standing on a rather steep hill that starts well above us and descends sharply to the Sea. He points out that this spot is the only place along the entire shore of the Sea that is steep enough for the story of the pigs to have been real. For the event requires a slope exactly like the one we are standing upon for the pigs to be able to run down the hill, into the Sea, and drown. And let’s not forget, the Sea would have been thirty feet higher up the slope.

Each historic location we visit carries with it only as much impact as we give to it personally. Leaning against the fence, and looking down towards the water, I am able to make the hill come alive with pigs going mad with the Legion of demons suddenly invading them. The pigs on this day were simply collateral damage in the spiritual conflict between Christ and the demons.

It makes me wonder what the pig owners did with the drowned pigs. Did they fear them because of the demons and let them bloat and float across the lake, where the ceremonial uncleanness of the pigs would become a physical polluting reality. Or did they retrieve them, dress, butcher and salt the freshly killed flesh, sell it to the Roman’s and thus avoid an economic calamity?

And think about whom by necessity owned, raised, and ate the flesh of pigs on the eastern side of the Sea of Galilee. Not the Hebrews certainly.

While this place seems most likely to be the place the demons overtook the pigs, it was not likely the place where the demons were driven out of the men. For in Matthew 8:30 scripture tells us that the contact with the men was “some distance from them,” meaning the pigs.

So where were the men? Matthew 8:28 tell us that when Jesus came to the other side of the Sea, “two demon possessed men met him, coming out of the tombs,…..” The tombs were unfortunately not pointed out to us as being north or south along the eastern side of the Sea. And I just did not think to ask.

Another question I should have asked was the location of the town mentioned in Matthew 8:33, where the pig herders ran and reported the death of the pigs.

Back in the bus our guide explained some context to the 67 war as he saw it. His contention is that water was the main point of conflict. Prior to the 67 war, Syria owned Sea front property along here and thus the water rights that went with it. He then pointed up the hill to their new boundary.

I am certain that they miss not having access to the water. In the Middle East, as it is everywhere else, water is life. However, the hills on the eastern shore of the Sea are steep. Pumping it up those hills would have not been easy. And I’m likely wrong, but I noticed no obvious pumping infrastructure to make me believe they were taking advantage of the resource when they had it. So I take his view about the war under consideration.

Our buses now circle back to the northwestern end of the Sea. That Jesus ministered all along this northwest shore of the Sea has become very real to all of us. We pass coves in the shore line that are amphitheater shaped with a rising hill. Any one of them could have served his teaching from the boat perfectly.

Along the northwest corner of the Sea we stop along the side of the road. We unload into narrow parking space next to a wall. At the gate is a sign that announces the Primacy of Peter. Standing to the side of the entrance is a Catholic monk in a simple brown robe with a rope belt. He is not exactly welcoming people, but is more of an observer to the pilgrims parading off of the street into his park like setting. It was almost as if we the pilgrims were a bit more of an intrusion to be tolerated than a desired arrival. But perhaps he was just distracted.

 At the end of a garden lined walk with small channels of running water is a small chapel at the shoreline. It is here that Jesus is thought to have made his third appearance after his resurrection and asked Peter three times if he loved him. Prominently displayed inside the very small chapel is a large rock. The rock is undoubtedly part of the massive bed rock that reaches into the sand on the beach. Today the Sea edge is a considerable distance away. It was an easy exercise to look at the place and imagine it with the water thirty feet higher. To the right of the chapel on the seaward edge of the garden is a beautiful metal sculpture depicting Peter bowing before Jesus.

We all take a stroll along about a hundred yards of large grain ‘sand’ and small rock beach front. Many of us enjoy getting our feet wet. The rock at the top of the beach descends vertically into the sand. With water submerging much of it, this location could have made a fine place to off load a boat. There are rocky points on either side of the beach. It would have been possible but considering the wind driven debris on the beach, I doubt there would have been enough protection from the wind waves to make it a secure anchorage.

Our tour of the Sea of Galilee is about to come to a close. We return to our Hotel in Tiberius road weary and eager for a shower, a good meal and a good night’s sleep. For tomorrow we will take a loop around the Golan Heights before we continue south.

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