In Israel on the north shore of the Sea of Galilee lie the ruins of the ancient town of Capernaum. Walking through Capernaum, you will come across the remains of a beautiful Jewish synagogue built of white limestone, often referred to as “The White Synagogue”, that dates from the 4th century. Visible below certain sections of the walls of the White Synagogue are the remains of what is most likely an earlier synagogue, built of basalt and dating to Jesus’ day.
It is the earlier synagogue that has special meaning to Christians. Having arrived in this area from Nazareth, Jesus found a small group of ordinary fishermen. He preached in the synagogue in Capernaum and taught his disciples in or near Simon Peter’s home nearby, which has now been excavated. It was a modest dwelling of a fisherman and his family. Who would believe that what happened in this quiet place two millenia ago would change the world?
Visiting the Holy Land is an extraordinary and unforgettable experience, and we encourage everyone to do so. Christian visitors help local economies and benefit both Israelis and Palestinians. You not only walk where Jesus walked; you will contribute to the peace process though your visit and support, and have the opportunity to meet many fascinating and inspiring people.
Rev. Dr. Bill Harter, our co-convener at Presbyterians for Middle East Peace, has led many visits to the Holy Land with both Christian and interfaith groups. We are aware of several trips planned for 2012. If you would like to explore a trip, we encourage you to contact Rev. Harter at email@example.com.