Thursday saw the start of the Jesus tour… first stop the Mount of Beatitudes – where it was lovely to have some time for quite and reflection on these most challenging of verses – The problem is that this is one of the main stops on the tourist trail and so there was a constant flow of people coming and going often noisily, many not really that interested in worship or reflection. But then what do you do? Its always a problem here that those who are here on pilgrimage are cheek by jowl with the tourists interested in antiquities, sunbathing and shopping This can lead to a conflict of interest at the Holy Sites. For example when we were at Armenian Vespers the other week in Jerusalem, there was a tour group in for whom this was clearly not a time of worship but a rather quaint sideshow that had been put on just for them. They were wandering around during the service trying to find good camera angles for their video and taking photos all the way through and thought nothing of going right up to the monks at worship and taking a flash photo of them at prayer – it was deeply offensive to those there to worship and deeply disrespectful to the monks. But at the same time many of these same churches have extensive gift shops and café’s – understandable as a fund raiser to maintain these wonderful churches – and yet surely giving mixed messages as to what they are about?
So having snarled at some noisy Taiwanese tourists (me that is, not the whole group…) we headed down the mount to Tabga to see the rock that the loaves and fishes were multiplied on and then next door to the Church of Peter’s Primacy to see the rock on which Jesus declared to Peter that he would be the rock on which the church was founded. Though both lovely churches I do find it amazing that in the fields full of rocks around here they can tell which were the exact ones on which these events took place!
By now it was nearing midday and it was incredibly hot – with the added joy we have come up against here of incredibly high humidity, so when we got to
Things got a lot cooler after this as we took a boat ride across the lake, stopping for a scripture reading half way – thought not an attempt to replicate the walk mentioned in this passage! and then on to a late lunch were all the non-vegetarians got to try the local speciality
The best part of the day – definitely when we got back to the hotel and at last were able to dive into the cool, clear waters of the