After visiting Nazareth, we’ll head to the coastal towns of the Galilee Sea, where you can find, among other places as Tabgha, the place which the Bible cites as being the setting for the miracle of ´the feeding of the 5000´. We then continue to Tiberias where we’ll relax on the seafront promenade and do some shopping. Our last stop will be Yardenit on the banks of the River Jordan where Jesus was baptized.
Tiberias in it’s surroundings has been a focal place in history for thousands of years, offering both a fresh water source, and a good livelihood from the lake, and fertile lands. History has rendered both the Kinneret area and Tiberias itself important to both Christians and Jews alike. Tiberias was the biggest Jewish city in the Galilee, the Jewish people’s political and religious hub, as well as the center of Jewish spiritual, and artistic creativity.
Tiberias has been inhabited since its founding and many buildings and ruins from a variety of periods including by Crusaders and the Ottoman Empire are well preserved in this area.
Located where the Jordan River flows from the Sea of Galilee to the Dead Sea, Yardenit (Jordan River baptismal site) is one of the most important Christian pilgrimage sites in the world. It is believed to be where John the Baptist baptized Jesus Christ.
The Book of Matthew does not describe where exactly Jesus was baptized by John and there are different traditions. Some believe that Jesus was baptized in Galilee, where Yardenit is today, others consider Al-Maghtas on the Jordanian side as the true site and others hold that Qasr el Yahud near Jericho is the true baptismal site. However, all traditions agree that the baptism took place at some point on the Jordan River.
Yardenit is one of the traditional sites where Jesus may have been baptized. At Yardenit, where the Sea of Galilee flows south into the Jordan River, steps and handrails have been provided so that Christian pilgrims can be safely baptized in the Jordan River. Christian pilgrims dressed in white robes enter the river to the sound of prayers and hymns. The site has showers, restrooms, a restaurant and gift store.
Three kilometers west of Capernaum is the place Josephus called “the spring of Capernaum.” For residents, this is undoubtedly a popular fishing spot because of its famous “seven springs.” Heptapegon (today the name has been distorted and is known as Tabgha) is the traditional site of several episodes in Jesus’ ministry.
Tabgha is the traditional site of the calling of the disciples. It is believed that here Jesus walked along the shore and called Simon Peter and Andrew who were casting their nets into the lake. Also as he passed by, Jesus saw other brothers, James and John who were preparing their nets along with their father Zebedee. Jesus called them all to follow him.
The Byzantine mosaic of the multiplication of the loaves is preserved under a modern church today, but it was part of another church commemorating Jesus feeding the five thousand. The Byzantine pilgrims were mistaken in locating this miracle since the Bible says this happened in a remote location near Bethsaida. The artist apparently had no knowledge of the fish in the lake as none have dorsal fins. Check the entire Israel itinerary.