As mentioned yesterday, I will be spending a little time over the next several weeks blogging about my recent trip to Israel. Today, Chris Collins will be sharing about his experience in the Holy Land. Enjoy and check back for further updates…
The Sea of Galilee
It has taken some time after returning to really begin processing what I saw and experienced during my time in Israel. As I have continued my Bible reading over the last 3 weeks, things are coming alive in new ways. No longer do I just skip over the names of places. Now I think, “I’ve been there!” And I can recall images of each place and remember what it looks like. The Bible means so much more to me now.
And one of the most precious things to me about the trip was sharing it with my dad. I thoroughly enjoyed our quality time together, and sharing this experience was amazing. I know we both grew in our understanding and love for Scripture through this trip, and we grew closer together.
The Sea of Galilee
The first half of our trip we spent around the Sea of Galilee, visiting different biblical sites in northern Israel. For three of those nights, we stayed at Ma’agan, on the south side of the Sea. One morning, I got up before sunrise and walked along the shore. I listened to the sound of the waves breaking and took in the moment. I have always loved the sound of running water. It is such a beautiful, soothing sound.
And that morning, as I took in the beautiful music of the water, I called to mind the stories that happened in this place. I imagined Jesus walking along the shore of the Sea, calling out to James and John and Peter and Andrew, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” They left their fishing business and followed Jesus. I, too, have decided to follow Jesus.
I thought about the time that Jesus and the disciples were crossing the Sea during a storm. Jesus was exhausted from preaching to the crowds and healing the sick, and He was asleep on a pillow while the disciples were frantically trying to save their small boat. They finally woke Jesus up and said, “Lord, don’t you care about us? We’re all going to die!” Jesus just looked at the storm and said, “Silence! Be still.” Immediately the storm was gone. Jesus then asked them, “Why were you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” What a question. I also forget sometimes that God Himself is with me, and I really have nothing to fear.
I remember too when the disciples saw Jesus walking on the water and thought He was a ghost. Jesus knew they were afraid and so He said, “Don’t fear. It is I.” Peter bravely said to Him, “Lord, if it’s really you, tell me to walk on the water.” Jesus said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and started walking toward Jesus on the water. Then he took his eyes off Jesus. He started thinking about how hard the wind was blowing and how big the waves were. He began to sink. Then he remembered that Jesus was there, and he called out for help. Jesus pulled him up and said, “You have so little faith! Why did you doubt me?” Then Jesus took him back to the boat, and the wind stopped. “You really are the Son of God!” exclaimed his disciples. Sometimes my faith is very small and I take my eyes off Jesus too. But He is always with me to help me, even when my faith is weak.
On that morning as I walked along the Sea, I remembered just some of the amazing things Jesus did in that place. And those memories will stay with me the rest of my life.