It rained all of last night, forcing closure of the descent down the Arbel cliffs. We enjoyed a nice breakfast at the guest house and then rode the taxi along with our bags down to Magdala where we picked the trail back up. It misted our entire hike today, so we picked up some warm beverages from the Aroma Cafe before setting out on our walk. Magdala is an archeological area where they believe Mary Magdalene was from discovered during the construction of a beautiful church. From there, we began hiking North towards Capernaum. We traversed the Ginosar Valley, a fertile area surrounded by mountains on three sides and the sea of Galilee on the other. The trail followed service roads through farmland. Bananas tempted us as we passed, stretching as far as the eye could see. Walking through a farm helps you appreciate the ancient laws against harvesting the edges of the field because of Gods concern for the poor and for the travelers passing through. While we may think we understand Gods concern for the poor, it’s worth a moment contemplating His concern for the sojourner. With all of the international highways running through ancient Israel, his concern for the sojourner was actual evangelistic in the sense that His method for reaching the nations was to bring them to Him by locating Israel at the very crossroads of civilization. As Christians, our call is to go, but for the Jews that was not the case and so properly representing Him to the nations that passed through was of utmost importance. As Christians, we need to be just as careful in how we represent God to the world.
“When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap your field right up to its edge, neither shall you gather the gleanings after your harvest. And you shall not strip your vineyard bare, neither shall you gather the fallen grapes of your vineyard. You shall leave them for the poor and for the sojourner: I am the Lord your God.” -Leviticus 19:9-10 ESVWhen you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap your field right up to its edge, neither shall you gather the gleanings after your harvest. And you shall not strip your vineyard bare, neither shall you gather the fallen grapes of your vineyard. You shall leave them for the poor and for the sojourner: I am the Lord your God.” -Leviticus 19:9-10 ESV
Please note, no bananas were removed from the edge of the fields by Sherpa, Porter, or Cheerio.
The other thing that you learn to appreciate walking through a place like this is just how much of the experience is lost by traveling everywhere in vehicles. There is so much to talk about as the scenery changes, with new sounds, sites, and smells. Vehicles are great at helping you reach your destination, but something of the journey is lost. We really believe the best way to experience a place is on foot. Hiking Gear Tip: Speaking of feet, every pound you don’t put on you feet is equal to four pounds of pressure off your knees, which is why we prefer lightweight trail runners to heavy hiking boots for most of our walks. If the trail is treacherous, we may add in ankle braces, for support, but we still wear the lightweight shoes most of the time. (Don’t do this with a heavy pack, we also hike fairly light). With the rain from the previous night still misting into the morning, the trail was very muddy. It was the kind of mud that sticks to your shoes as you walk. Pounds of it! And just as quick as you’d scrape it off, more would replace it. It really makes you appreciate what it meant to wash somebody’s feet. You would need a LOT of tears to wash somebody’s feet if they were traveling in the Galilean rainy season!
As we finished our hike a little after 2pm, we ascended out of the Ginosar valley, taking a brief detour to enjoy a view from nearby Tel Kinneret, the ancient city of Naphtali (Joshua 19:35) which gives the Sea of Galilee it’s name, “Lake Kinneret.” We decided to take a short day and just relax at our accommodation, a nice hotel on the northern end of the Lake called Tabgha Pilgerhaus. Today marks exactly six months since we met our son Judah and we just wanted to rest.
The Sunday following Judah’s funeral, our entire church showed up in matching shirts to honor him. It was such a kind gesture. We wore those shirts today to honor his memory. The words on the shirt say: “I will praise the Lord” along with the reference to the passage we got his name Judah from, “Genesis 29:35”. It tells the story of someone who in spite of a terrible circumstance chose to praise God and memorialized it by naming their son “Praise” (Judah is the Hebrew word for Praise). The shirt also offers our encouragement to everyone to “Hike the Good Hike”! and say “#choosepraise”. While we may not choose our circumstances, we do get to choose how we response in those circumstances.
#HiketheGoodHike and #Choosepraise,
Sherpa and Porter (and Cheerio and Judah)