Day 9 - Jesus' Ministry Part II

Today we continued our journey in the Footsteps of Jesus by visiting more of the sites around the Sea of Galilee where Jesus carried out his mission. We started by climbing the narrow path up to the highly defensible Greek city state called "Hippos" in Greek and "Susita" in Aramaic. Although Hippos is not named specifically in the Gospels, it is one of the ten powerful city states that made up the coalition known as the Decapolis, the regions of which Jesus visited from time to time. As we explored the incredibly impressive ruins of this wealthy pagan city, we reflected on how Jesus engaged with people of every kind of background and proclaimed a Kingdom that was not just for his own people, the Jews, but was for every person on the planet! From Hippos we went to Bethsaida, the recently excavated Jewish fishing village originally situated on the eastern shore of the Sea of Galilee, where Philip, Simon, and Andrew came from originally. We saw extended family homes (oikoi) where people shared life and a common vocation together, including an extended family whose business, just like Simon and Andrew's, was fishing. We finished the day with a visit to Chorazin, another Jewish town around the lake where Jesus taught and healed. There we were reminded that Jesus has made it possible for us to become a part of God's extended family and that he has prepared a place for us in that family, both now and forever. 

A panorama of the steep-sided ridge on which Hippos was built, one of the ten cities of the Decapolis.

An earthquake in the eighth century abruptly ended the glory of this great Greek city, as evidenced by all the columns of this Byzantine church falling in the same direction!

Hippos boasted broadly paved boulevards, endless shops, grand basilicas, an expansive central plaza, and a wine-making factory (where we are standing in this photo).

Here we are in the Jewish fishing town of Bethsaida, standing on the first century street where Jesus and his disciples would certainly have walked!

This elaborate synagogue in Chorazin dates from after the time of Jesus, but gives us a clear understanding of how Jesus read Scripture and taught in the synagogues of Galilee.

At night the lights of the cities that ring the Sea of Galilee are reflected in the waters of this amazing lake.