By mid-afternoon on Tuesday, the anticipation was building. We had seen the ancient Galilee Boat that once sailed on the lake. It would be our turn to sail next.
The weather was beautiful. The Sea of Galilee was glistening in the sunshine. A gentle breeze was blowing off the lake.
We paralleled the lake from the museum, then followed the path down to the pier. Our boat was waiting.
We clambered aboard, anxious to be underway.
Other boats were coming in to dock as we set sail. We heard people on the boats singing and could not understand why. I assumed they were just excited.
Within a few minutes, we understood. One of the crew of our boat carried an American flag to the mast and began raising it. Everyone rose to their feet. Several of us started singing “The Star-Spangled Banner.” Imagine our surprise when a recorded version of the anthem came booming over the boat’s speakers!
We all cheered as the final words faded on the breeze.
Before we knew it, worship songs blasted from the sound system. In the cool breeze, we sang of God’s greatness. Song after song played. While some people chatted, others enjoyed singing along in worship. Many took a turn standing at the bow for pictures, enjoying the breeze. Everyone was smiling, singing, or laughing.
When my husband and I went to the bow, I snapped shots of our surroundings. In the distance, we could see the Church of the Beatitudes, which we had visited earlier that morning. Down the hill from the church, a screened covering provides shelter for banana trees.
When the music stopped, one of the crew demonstrated how Jesus’ disciples would have cast a net into the sea. Would he catch anything?
The net came up empty. His second attempt yielded the same results.
Moments later, the crew started clearing all the chairs off the deck. None of us knew what was coming next. Our tour guide, Mika, had mentioned that we might “make a miracle” on the Sea of Galilee. The glint in her eye hinted at a fun surprise. Were we about to experience this miracle?
The miracle was a special Hebrew folk dance. The crew asked our group to form two circles on the makeshift dance floor. After they introduced the steps of the dance, the music began. Many in our group danced the “Hava Nagila,” a Jewish song of celebration. Perched on the bench at the side of the boat, I captured video.
What do the words of the song mean? I looked it up after our trip:
Let us rejoice, let us rejoice
Let us rejoice and be glad
Let us sing, let us sing
Let us sing and be glad
Awaken, awaken, brethren
Awaken, brethren, with a cheerful heart.
What an amazing experience! We were certainly rejoicing in this unique opportunity.
As we headed back to shore, we took in our surroundings. A group of windsurfers caught my husband’s attention. Together, we watched as the wind propelled them forward.
All too soon, the dock was in sight. Patriotic music took over the sound system as the crew played “God Bless the USA.” Members of our group proudly stood to their feet.
As we debarked from the boat, the crew expressed their appreciation of our country. They called out, “Say hello to President Trump for us!”
Soon we were back on the bus. We relaxed and enjoyed beautiful views as we took the long way around the lake.
I was fascinated as we drove by the remains of an Ottoman-era wall near the center of Tiberias. Many roads in Israel boast traffic circles. I was constantly impressed by the interesting statues and other items on display in most of them.
We stopped for a couple minutes in Tiberias. A few people left the bus to visit a jeweler who had offered a complimentary presentation on diamonds. The rest of us traveled on. An hour later we were relaxing at the resort.
When people ask what my favorite part of the Israel trip was, it is always easy for me to answer. The boat trip on the Sea of Galilee was the highlight of the entire journey. We especially enjoyed the spiritual, worshipful aspect of the experience. If we could only do one thing over again, it would be my top pick.
What part of our Israel trip have you most enjoyed reading about so far? Please share in the comments below.
Next adventure on our trip: The Jordan River. Click here to journey along with me!