Holy Land Tour | The Seven Springs, The Great Catch and the Fishing Boat

The day was sunny, bright and beautiful. A little cool with the promise of many stops on our tour of Israel today. We exited the bus and entered through a gate, called “Church of the Primacy of Saint Peter Mensa Christi”. I’m not Catholic and didn’t really know what to expect here, except knowing the church built over important sites, I expected something special.


The dirt pathway was wide leading down towards the church and Sea. The church grounds were on our left and pretty. Green grass, and many trees of various varieties including palms. At the end of the path, the guides directed us, however, not to the church but to the right and down to a stone amphitheater under large trees. At the bottom center of the amphitheater was a stone pedestal where Amir Tsarfati, our guide along with our pastor, Jack Hibbs were waiting for three bus-loads of expectant Jesus enthusiasts to have a seat to explain the significance of this beautiful spot.

Significance there certainly was – It was all about Fishing!


It’s interesting to note that the Sea of Galilee back in Jesus’s day was bigger and cleaner than it is today. Cleaner because there were not commercial operations nor recreational activities such as power boats polluting the water. Bigger, because sometime in the beginning of the 4th century AD there was a very large landslide in the area which pushed the northern part of the sea back a half of a mile south.

Also of note, is that today there are 30 different species of fish in the Sea of Galilee. Scholars have documented that in Jesus’s day there were 153 species known to inhabit the sea. What a difference!


Fisherman have always known where the ‘fishing hot spots’ are located. (just like the hot spot in Mt Baldy where we took our grandkids for a sure catch- article coming soon!). It turns out that we were on the shores of THE fishing hot spot on the Sea of Galilee!

This place is in Tabgha (also spelled Tabhka). It’s not a city, but a small area not far from Capernaum, Jesus’s town (see article). In ancient times, Tabgna was known as Heptapegon – “Place of the Seven Springs”. The Sea of Galilee starts with melting snow from Mt Herman. These seven springs are hot springs, which makes the water warm and the fish love the warm water – hence a very hot fishing spot.


Not only was the water perfect for fishing, but to our left through the trees and down at the back of the church was THE fishing dock where fisherman got into their boats to fish in these warm waters. A natural stone dock with natural stone steps leading up to the dock. With the church gone, the shore would have been where they would have cleaned their nets and hauled in their catch of the day. Though we couldn’t yet see them, we were at THE dock where Peter, Andrew, James, John and the other fishermen disciples would have entered the water.

There are two similar, related accounts of Jesus and Peter fishing on this very spot.


The first, when Jesus called Peter to be a disciple. Luke 5 recounts that Jesus had already begun His ministry in general and in Capernaum specifically. He had many people who were around, wanting to hear the word of God. One day while He was standing by the lake, he saw two boats on the shore without men, because the men were washing their nets. Jesus got into a boat owned by Simon (Peter), pushed it into the water deeper and began teaching.


Luke 5:4 -8 “When He had stopped speaking, He said to Simon, “Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch. But Simon answered and said to Him, Master, we have toiled all night and caught nothing; nevertheless, at your word I will let down the net. And when they had done this, they caught a great number of fish, and their net was breaking. So they signaled to their partners to help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink. When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, Oh Lord.”
Peter was an experienced fisherman, Jesus told him to cast his nets, plural. Peter knew he hadn’t caught fish all night, so because of lack of faith and perhaps not wanting Jesus to be embarrassed in front of all the masses that were following him, Peter cast only one net. But as Amir told us, “When God wants to bless you, you better be ready. If you’re not, the weight of the blessing might cause you to sink.!” James and John, the sons of Zebedee were also there as was Peter’s brother, Andrew. Jesus responded to Simon,
“… Do not be afraid. From now on you will catch men” Luke 5:10. Thus began the gathering of the disciples.

 Three years later, 100 miles south from this very spot, Peter, after spending three years day and night with his Lord, would deny Jesus three times the night before Jesus crucifixion. Just as Jesus had told Peter he would. Afraid, certainly. Shocked, absolutely. Jewish tradition said that the Messiah would come as a human, but He would save them and rule, not die a vicious death. The prophets on the other hand in the Bible spoke of death. Jesus Himself kept telling the disciples over and over that it was necessary for Him to die and that He would return. None of them understood. Even after the resurrection, when they had seen Him alive, they didn’t understand. They were depressed. They didn’t yet have the Holy Spirit and Peter, in particular, felt very guilty. So what did they do? Peter said in John 21:3 “I’m going fishing!” (That was his profession, that was what he knew. Just like that, I’m going fishing! Four of the other disciples, Thomas, the twin, the sons of Zebedee (John and James) and two others )


“They said to him, “We are going with you also.” They went out and immediately got into the boat, and that night caught nothing.”

Sound familiar?

“But when the morning had now come, Jesus stood on the shore, yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. Then Jesus said to them, “Children, have you any food?” They answered “No. And He said, “Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some…..” John 21:4-6


They had seen three years before what happened when Jesus told them where to fish. Logic would have told the experienced fisherman that it was highly unlikely that they would not catch fish in this fishing hot spot on the Galilee. It also told them, if I didn’t catch anything on the left side, am I going to catch anything on the right side? Jesus always spoke with authority, so regardless of logic, they obeyed. Once again, the catch was so big, they were not able to draw the nets into the boat!

Finally, John recognizes that it is Jesus and tells Peter that,
“It is the Lord!” vs 7. 
Peter was so excited that he jumped off the boat to get to Jesus.


“vs 8; “but the other disciples came in the little boat (for they were not far from land, but about two hundred cubits), dragging the net with fish.”
There was Jesus on the shore cooking them breakfast! Jesus was always teaching and serving! Jesus asked them to bring some of the fish they had just caught to him to cook

. “Simon Peter went up and dragged the net to land, full of large fish, one hundred and fifty-three; and although there were so many, the net was not broken.” John 21:11.
Did you catch that? 153 fish! Did they catch one of each kind? The odds of catching fish at all after all night with nothing, extremely low. The odds of changing sides of the boat would help, lower still. The odds of catching 153 fish all different? The Bible doesn’t say, but it’s interesting to speculate for sure.

Jesus serves, Jesus heals and Jesus restores. Knowing the guilt that Peter felt for denying Him. Knowing that he was broken Jesus talks to Peter.
“So when they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of Jonah, (a reference to the profit Jonah perhaps?) do you love Me more than these?” (Some think He may have been referring to the fish or fishing, others to the other disciples.) He said to Him, “Yes Lord; You know that I love You.” He said Feed My lambs.” He said a second time, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?” He said to Him, “Yes Lord, You know that I love You.” He said to him , Tend My Sheep.” He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me? Peter was grieved (it says in other spots crying) because He said to him the third time, “Do you love Me?” (Perhaps because he denied 3 times?) And he said to Him, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.” Jesus said to Him, “Feed My Sheep.” John 21:15-19

There were different words in Hebrew being used in this discourse and lots of symbolism based on what had happened three years before. I recommend further study as it is fascinating in all of its intricacies. However, the bottom line is that Peter had vehemently sworn that he would never deny Jesus and would die for Him. Peter was sick with guilt that when push came to shove, he did fact fail. Jesus is now restoring, healing and re-commissioning Peter to feed and tend His sheep, us! We are His sheep whom He loves! Peter swore that he would and did becoming a pillar of the new church. Eventually, Peter did, in fact, die for Jesus. He was crucified as well. However, he refused to be crucified like Jesus, but upside down!

We then left the amphitheater to walk down the small ramp leading to the shore and dock. There is currently a drought in Israel so we were able to walk on what would normally be under water. I’m told even as recently as a year ago this was under water. We were able to clearly see the stone steps naturally carved into what looks like more of the black basalt rocks we saw in Capernaum leading up to the dock. The steps were chained off, but we could walk up and touch them which I did.

I took a picture of my hand on these very steps where Jesus, Peter, James, John and the others walked.

Also because of the drought, we saw something else. A series of white stones embedded into the shore a short distance from the steps. These white stones were in a row and each of them shaped like hearts! I also walked down to the water’s edge, bent down and dug my fingers into the gravel of the shore. I brought out a small handful of these shells/stones for my Bible collection.

This truly was a special spot.


A side note, the other day when we floated on the Sea of Galilee, we stopped at a museum to see “The Jesus Boat”. In January 1986 there was also a drought in Israel. Two fishermen dreamed of discovering a treasure and the dream came true. Walking along the water, further down from where we are today, they saw what looked like a wooden object protruding from the wet ground. Upon further inspection, they felt it was something important and called the Israeli antiquities experts. A good thing they did, buried in dense layers of mud was a fishing boat 2000 years old! Scientists labored day and night, using special methods to keep the boat from disintegrating before their eyes. They call this the “Jesus boat” because it is the same age and type of the ones the disciples would have used. Is it? God only knows for sure. What is known is that this is in the same spot where they all lived and worked and fished 2000 years ago!

I’m so thankful this Thanksgiving for my Lord, My Savior and this wonderful blessing I was able to share with my sweet son, Eric.

Happy Thanksgiving all!


Debbie

Rosemary Dinner Rolls

These rolls are so amazing! Soft and golden, with a hint of rosemary. They are delicious with butter or loaded with meat and cheese. You really can't go wrong with them! They will be the perfect touch to any meal and perfect for your Thanksgiving family gatherings.

Thanksgiving recipe

Ingredients

Dough:
1 Cup Spring Water Warmed
3 Tablespoons Coconut Oil or Grass Fed Butter
1 1/2 Teaspoons Raw Sugar 
1 1/2 Teaspoons Celtic Sea Salt or Pink Himalayan Salt
1 Tablespoon Rosemary
1 1/2 Teaspoon Active Dry Yeast
Topping:
Rosemary sprigs (optional)
Olive oil
Thanksgiving Recipe

Bread Machine Way:
Place wet ingredients in the bread maker, Then add flour. Put salt, sugar, seasonings in different corners then make a small well in the center and place yeast in it. Mix on dough setting then make into 9 rolls. Let it rise again. Brush with oil. Bake at 375 for 15 minutes or until golden. Lay sprigs of rosemary over the rolls.

The "By Hand" Way:
In your bowl add liquid ingredients (oil and water) that have been warmed (not hot) with your sugar. Sprinkle your yeast on top and cover and let set in a warm draft-free place in your kitchen till bubbly. Slowly mix in the remaining dry ingredients. With a spoon or fingers start mixing until combined fully. Let rise for 20 minutes then begin kneading. Let rise again. Pull it out of the bowl shape into 9 rolls and let rise again. Brush with oil. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes or until golden. Lay sprigs of rosemary over the rolls. 

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A Grandmother's Legacy

Away in a manger... soft and lilting the lyrics float in my head as the hazy image of my grandmother singing flickers in the back of my head. What I would do to sit with her for a moment and hear her voice again. To listen to her sing... to wake before the sunrises and sit in the kitchen drinking tea and watching the eastern sky blush with the dawn.

So many memories she should have born witness to, so many birthdays and Christmas's she should be here for. So many feasts she should have helped prepare. So many hugs I long to feel. So many pictures she should be in. So very many things I would like to tell her.

And yet her legacy lives on in our lives. Not a day is not touched with her fingerprints, for they are on all of our hearts. Today as the calendar marks the anniversary of her death, and we find the pain anew- and wonder if it will ever stop hurting we remember her legacy. We remember a woman with such an amazingly large heart that she could make strangers family. A tiny lady, who could walk among the homeless and the broken and look past all of the rough edges and love them.


We remember the woman who kept a little can of  'love' on the counter to sprinkle all of the dishes she made with it. We remember a woman who changed the lives all she met. We remember the stories she told... and the love she filled our home with.

I am so thankful for her influence in my life, for the ability to grow up in her shadow. We Rosevine Girls share the amazing treasure of spending nearly every day of our lives with her. Her passing has left a huge unfillable gap in our lives.

Related Article: The Most Important Thing

She was a woman of faith, and that made her a unique woman. Much of what I know of faith came from this woman and watching her walk with Christ. Her life was not sunshine and rainbows, she was raised by a sister after her mother died and father abandoned her. She found herself burying her husband and daughter much sooner then any wife or mother ever wants to do- and yet she remained faithful. Yes, I am sure there were dark places, places where she questioned His plan, where the grief threatened to crush her.

She was a strong woman- not in an abrasive sort of way, but in a gentle beautiful way. In a way that bespoke where her strength came from. She was a woman who could believe in you when everyone else gave up. Today as I logged on to Facebook a memory popped up, "Heaven has gained an amazing woman,"... yes, heaven truly did gain an amazing woman that day, and the world is a bit darker without her corny jokes and beautiful voice. But it is by far a more beautiful place because of her.
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 2 Timothy 4:7
May we all be more like Grandma Cottage... at the end of our days, may someone be able to say that about us that we "finished the race" and "kept the faith". May that be all of our legacies. I'll go a bit further, may we all leave behind us as big an impact -a ground-zero if you will-. No, she never ran for office, or became wealthy, or traveled to far off places- but she was rich with love. May the epicenter of our legacy, be as widespread, and the people we loved be as many.

Farmhouse Thanksgiving Tablescape

Thanksgiving has always been special at the Cottage. Almost all of our family is spread out across the states so it is usually just us and sometimes a few good friends. From early in the morning, the house smells like baking bread and pies, roasting turkey and spices all mingling together in a mouthwatering aroma. Christmas carols play softly (a family tradition started by Grandma Cottage), as we work together on the Thanksgiving feast.

One thing we love is decorating the table! This year we chose white and green pumpkins with tarnished silver candlesticks and dried hydrangeas.


Related Article: Thanksgiving A Holy Holiday


We reused the gold disks from the garden party and hung them from the ceiling throughout the room.




We found these great silver candle holders from an estate sale, we loved the aged look so we didn't bother polishing them.


We used chalk paint on little orange pumpkins to make them this adorable green, and the chicken wire napkin rings.


Related Article: Fall Home Tour


 Mix matched silver platers set off the white of the bone china and linen napkins perfectly and tie the candlesticks in perfectly.



The neutral tones of the dried hydrangeas really pull this look together. We waited until later in the season to clip them so we would get this neutral look but earlier in the year you would have them more colorful. Simply clip them the length you are wanting and put them into your basket or vase without water and they will dry this way.



Churches Of Nuremberg - Frauenkirche

Frauenkirche was built on the initiative of Charles IV Holy Roman Emporer between 1352 and 1362, who selected Master Stone Mason Peter Parter - who worked on the Prague Cathedral - for the building works.  Frauenkirche or "The Church of Our Lady" was built as a hall church with two aisles and a tribune for the Emporer. The church contains 9 bays supported by four columns. One of the most notable features of the church is the mechanical clock installed in 1506  that commemorates the Golden Bull of 1356. The Holy Roman Emporer and the Prince-Electors are shown around the clock.

Frauenkirche

Related Article: Exploring Nuremberg

Nuremberg Germany

The earliest mention of the church dates back to 1442. Frauenkirche sits in the Grand Market in place of a Jewish synagogue destroyed during the Pogrom of 1345 after a black death outbreak. The church houses many sculptures -some heavily restored- along with numerous works of art from the middle ages.

Related Post: Saint Marien's Church - Marburg Germany  


Nuremberg Germany

Charles IV son was baptized here in 1361.

The church is shown in Leni Riefenstahl's 1935 propaganda film about the Nuremberg Rally as Hilter receives salutes from Nazi troops.

Nuremberg Germany

Since 1984 the balcony beneath the clock has been used for the opening ceremony of the Christkindlesmarkt.

It was built a Catholic church in but changed to protestant after the Reformation, before reverting it back to Catholic in 1916

On January 2, 1945, it was damaged by British bombs as the allies fought to capture Nuremberg.

Related Post: Exploring Nuremberg Part 2 

Nuremberg Germany


Nuremberg Germany

Mr. Cottage 

End of log.

Cranberry Orange Cookies

Christmas time is just around the corner, and these cookies are the perfect thing to ring in the season. Seriously they taste like Christmas as the orange and cranberry swirl through your mouth. These are super easy to make and really really tasty!

Christmas Cookies

Ingredients:

1/2 Cup frozen cranberries
Zest of 2 mandarin oranges
1 to 1/2 Tablespoons fresh mandarin orange juice 

1 Teaspoon almond extract
3/4 Cups raw sugar plus extra to dip cookies in
21/2 Cups organic all-purpose flour 

Related Article: Cranberry Orange Bread 

Christmas Cookies Recipe

Directions:

Blend frozen cranberries and 1/4 cup sugar in a blender, process until cranberries are broken down. Combine flour and the rest of the sugar in a large bowl. Using a pastry knife or two butter knives cut butter into the flour until it is a fine crumble. Stir in almond extract, orange zest and juice and cranberry mix. Knead the dough with your hands until it forms a ball. Shape into a log about 2 inches in diameter and wrap with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 2-72 hours. Cover cookie sheet with silicone mat. Preheat oven to 325F. Remove cookie dough from refrigerator, and cut slices off about 1/4th inch thick. Pour sugar into a plate and dip cookies in it on both sides. Place on the cookie sheet and bake for 12 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool. 
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Thanksgiving A Holy Holiday

As Thanksgiving draws near and family and traditions grow further apart, the true meaning and purpose of Thanksgiving becomes foggy and even forgotten. Amongst the clutter, and bustle of the "holiday season," it gets lost. Like an old box of ornaments in the attic, it sits gathering dust, waiting, hoping to be opened. To be remembered. But when it finally is opened its met with indifference and even disdain.

It's just a day off. Just a day created by a bunch thieves and murderers. Turkey day! A time to sit back and watch football. The beginning of the Christmas rush- Black Friday shopping. Strip that all away- peel it back like layers of old wallpaper in a house. Pull back the layers of commercialization, the family commitments, the hurry, tear away the calendar date. Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving Devotional

The purpose of Thanksgiving wasn't to feast or party. It wasn't about the shopping or the football. It was about thanking God for keeping the pilgrims alive during a long voyage across the ocean to an unknown land in search of freedom to worship how they pleased, it was to thank Him for sustaining them through persecution, diseases, crop failures and blizzards. It was to thank God for sending them someone to teach them how to survive in this new world that they sought refuge in.

It was was three days of praying and giving thanks. Of being with family and friends and thanking God for them. Three days of praise and worship, that was attended by 90 Native Americans and 53 Pilgrims.

How has He sustained you? How has he brought strangers into your life to teach you on your journey? Where are the places he's carried you through failures and diseases? Find the places in your life where His arms have encircled you and seen you safely through. What are you thankful for- don't answer that quickly, don't whip out a pat answer and move on. Dwell on it, what is close to your heart? Don't just say I'm thankful next to a 2-second answer, what are you really thankful for? Who are you thankful for. Now take a moment to celebrate this holiday the way it was intended. Pour out your heart to your Father.

We live in a culture that has forgotten how to be thankful, in the rush to have the newest and biggest 'whatever' we have lost the art of simply being thankful. Let's change that, you and me, starting in our own homes. Let's learn to be thankful again, and to come before our Lord with praise as we thank Him for the many blessings He's bestowed on our lives.

Do you know the real story of Thanksgiving? Do your kids? Do your grandkids? This year make sure they know the true story. Spend some time with them, more than just a family dinner on Thanksgiving night. Whether it's listening to an audiobook or a radio drama while doing holiday baking. Or curling up together on the couch next to the fire watching a movie or read a book together. Or gather around a table playing a game. The time will be well spent. When they are old and have children and grandchildren of their own, it won't be the football game they watched or the amount of pie they ate that they will remember, but the time spent with you. So make some traditions, it's not too late. You will be glad you did.

Here are a few of our favorite adventures, some that I grew up with and others that I enjoy now.

Movies:

This Is America Charlie Brown - The Mayflower Voyagers
the Peanuts gang tells the story of the Mayflower voyage from England to the new world, in 1620. They detail the hardships the pilgrims faced while trying to adapt to their new land, and how it was the help of the Natives Samoset, Squanto and the Wampanoag Chief Massasoit that helped them survive. The special ends the next fall when the pilgrims share their bountiful harvest with the Natives in a feast of Thanksgiving.

Animated Hero Classic Series: William Bradford
The story William Bradford, Squanto, faith during trial

Dear America: A Journey to the New World
The story of a twelve-year-old Pilgrim girl's first few months at Plymouth Colony.

An Old Fashioned Thanksgiving
The widow Mary Bassett and her 3 children have come on difficult times, which becomes especially apparent when they can't even afford a turkey for their Thanksgiving dinner. The widows oldest daughter writes to their wealthy and estranged grandmother for help.

Radio Dramas:

A Thankstaking Story
On a snowy Thanksgiving Day, Whit, Connie, Eugene and a few of their friends end up stuck at Whit's End. To pass the time, they tell a zany story of the Scrunch and his plan for "Thankstaking."

A Thanksgiving Carol
Whit and the gang use Kids' Radio to tell Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol with an unusual twist.

Thank You, God
At Thanksgiving dinner, Whit tells the story of how his stepmother changed his life.

The Legend of Squanto
This audio drama brings to light the story of one of America's early legends — "Squanto." History remembers Tisquantum as the Native American who taught early settlers to fish and farm. He's even credited with the first Thanksgiving. But few hear the story of the condemnation that dragged him outside America to a life in chains and what he discovered after his exile. It's an inspiring true story of this little-known early American that triumphed over injustice and changed what would become the United States.

Books:

Thanksgiving: Time to Remember
By Barbara Rainey

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