Today we focused on the rhythm Jesus established of moving from times of deep abiding to times of great fruitfulness. In addition to retreat areas around the Sea of Galilee such as Tabgha, occasionally Jesus took the disciples away from the area to rest, disengage from the crowds, and open themselves to new levels of revelation. Caesarea Philippi, in the far north of Israel is one of those places Jesus took his disciples. There he asked them, "Who do you say that I am?"
This is the place where the headwaters of the Jordan River originate in the gorgeous spring that flows from the cave of Pam at Banias. After visiting the remains of the huge pagan worship site there, we sat on a circle of ancient stones to reflect on Mike's teaching about what it meant for Simon to take on a new name and receive the authority to represent Jesus.
After our visit to the spring and a time of reflection, we headed to the nearby Banias Waterfalls, which is more likely to be the actual area where Jesus and the disciples would have spent their time. This gorgeous waterfall is unlike anything else in this part of the world and rewards all those who hike down to it with a cool and refreshing experience.
As much as we would have liked to spend all day in this beautiful spot, we headed south, setting our faces toward Jerusalem. Since it closed early on the day we were scheduled to visit Sepphoris, the large cosmopolitan city near to the village of Nazareth, we decided to stop in on our way back to the Holy City. We walked the ancient streets of the city, admired the gorgeous mosaics, and got a real sense of the kind of building that was Jesus' family business.
We arrived safely back at the Lutheran Guesthouse in the Old City of Jerusalem just in time for dinner. We are looking forward to beginning our retracing of Jesus' steps during his final week in Jerusalem by visiting the village of Bethany and walking down the Mount of Olives. We miss you all and thank you for the prayers and encouragement ...