Tag Archives: Sea of Galilee

Listening to Jesus on the Sea of Galilee

“Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.”

Matthew 4:19 NIV

     In a previous post, I told you traveling to Israel had been my deep desire since I was a teenager. I couldn’t figure out the tug I felt whenever I heard someone talk about a trip to Israel until a few years ago when a minister said, “Christians don’t go to Israel to take a vacation. They go to make a pilgrimage.”

     Pilgrimage is defined as a long journey made to a sacred place as a quest to pay homage:[1] This definition pretty well sums up my experience. Our recent trip to the Holy Land was a profound experience—on both a spiritual and ongoing practical level—for me. I know others in our group felt similarly.

     Because I know me, I anticipated there would be a day during this ‘pilgrimage’ when I would experience an emotional meltdown. Actually, there was more than one, but the first occurred Tuesday, September 27th. A little before 8 a.m. our group walked the short distance from the Nof Ginosar Kibbutz Hotel to the Sea of Galilee where we boarded a fishing boat called “Faith.” A cadre of seasoned fishermen, including the boat’s captain, Daniel Carmel[2] greeted us. (Note: The Sea of Galilee is actually a freshwater lake, approximately 33 miles in circumference, about 13 miles long and 8.1 miles wide.[3])

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I love this picture of Sarah, a lovely lady in our group, worshipping on the Sea of Galilee

     Daniel is Jewish by birth. After leading numerous Christian groups on tours of the Galilee, he believed Jeshuah was indeed the Messiah many of his fellow countrymen still await. My journal entry described Daniel as “a lovely and lively man, probably mid to late 40’s or early 50’s, weathered and ruggedly handsome.” I thought many of the men who fished these same waters in similar-appearing boats when Jesus lived in this region must have looked a lot like Daniel. I imagined Jesus hopping on to Daniel’s boat, hollering, “Hey, friend, take me out a ways so I can teach these folks without being mobbed.”

     As Daniel pulled away from shore, he told us a few weeks earlier, Hillsong filmed a live video of “Oceans” at sunrise from his boat. The strains of the beautiful song accompanied us as Daniel navigated from the shore into the depths of the water. (Note: I hope you’ll watch this amazing “Oceans” Youtube video production.[4])

     I listened to the beautiful words and melody of “Oceans,” and waves of emotion lapped over me. Tears streamed down my cheeks. For a brief second only, I considered my makeup was being ruined—and at the beginning of the day no less!

     My silent prayer formed naturally. The conversation I had with Jesus felt real, intimate in spite of the presence of about 40 other people on the boat.

Jesus, I can’t believe it! This is the very sea upon which you sailed. You calmed the frightening storm and walked on waves churning on these waters. From these same shores you recruited your trusted friends and disciples.

What do you want to say to me today, Jesus?

     My first reaction to the still, small voice whispering into my spirit, “Come. Follow me.” was to argue, “But, I’m already doing that, Lord.”

     “Come, follow me.” The three words, echoing in my heart that morning are the same words with which Jesus invited Peter, James, John and Andrew more than 2000 years earlier.

     These three words were familiar, but I’d never much considered their significance. While sailing on the Sea of Galilee in a fishing boat christened “Faith,” I realized with keen clarity the invitation to “Come!” to” Follow!” is one that’s ongoing. Jesus’s disciples must have considered those words often in days they traveled with their teacher and into the years following Christ’s death, resurrection and return to Heaven.

     Yes, each day, the Spirit of Jesus beckons, “Come, follow me.”

     September 27, 2016, while on the Sea of Galilee, I asked,

“What do you want to say to me today, Jesus?”

The answer I received that day prompts me to consider this day, December 1, 2016, yet another question.

“How do you want me to follow you this day, Jesus?”

Blessings on our journeys as we learn how to best follow Jesus every day…

Sue Reeve

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Our group preparing to head out on the Sea of Galilee

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Daniel and Tod, both gifted musicians, lead our group in worship music.

  1. http://www.dictionary.com/browse/pilgrimage
  2. Daniel is a gifted vocalist and leads worship from his boat. Watch him at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jiaZvaSMNho
  3. From Holy Ground Explorations Journal. Note: For more information about your own trip to Israel, we recommend highly Dan and Sharon Stolbarger, our group leaders. If this is a trip you’d love to make, check them out at http://holygroundexplorations.com/
  4. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M9GcyHpptMk

Seeing Jesus Anew on the Sea of Galilee

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:1 & 14

     If I were asked what words have had the greatest impact on my life, I would be quick to answer, “Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so.” I learned those words through a simple children’s song that’s packed with enormous theological truth. “Jesus Loves Me,” written by two sisters, Anna and Susan Warner, has had a profound influence on young and old alike since its publication in the late 1800’s.

     My faith has pivoted on those simple words since childhood.

     Those words form the foundation on which my life has been built.

     Those words have lighted my life’s darkest nights.

     Those words have motivated my best life choices. And, if honest instead of pious, I admit I’ve ignored those words when making some of my ‘not-so-good’ choices.

     Those words have been the compass guiding me through forests of uncertainty.

     I’ve sung these words to my two daughters.

     I still sing these words to my two youngest grandchildren. All five have heard them sung by their Grandma Susie.

     I’ve requested these simple words will one day be sung at my memorial service.

     Yes, I know Jesus loves me, and I know I love Jesus!

     My love for Jesus has never felt more real than it did when we spent time recently in the region of the Sea of Galilee in Israel.

     For the past several weeks I’ve been writing blog posts about our Holy Land trip in early autumn 2016. I’ve talked about our time in Tel Aviv, a progressive hub of commerce. Several of my posts discussed powerful moments we spent in Jerusalem, an ancient city, crucial to three major world religions. I attempted to describe the personal impact of Jerusalem in my faith journey, knowing my attempt to capture our Jerusalem experience with appropriate words is absolutely inadequate.

     When I was a kid, I categorized and then prioritized food placed on my plate. I always saved my favorite food until last. Although every part of our trip to Israel was important and nourishing, the best part for me was the three days we spent in the Galilean region. I’ve decided to save posts describing those days until last.

     During the month of December, a season of Advent when Christians anticipate celebrating the birth of the Messiah, I want to share with you some of the ways in which Jesus became more vibrant than ever to me—ways in which my perspective of The Word [who] became flesh and made his dwelling among humankind expanded.

     In the region of the Galilee where Jesus walked with friends, healed the sick and restored dignity to the disenfranchised, I caught a fresh glimpse of his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

     I hope you’ll want to come along with me to the region of Galilee.

Sue Reeve


Sunrise on the Sea of Galilee