The northern shores of the Sea of Galilee were home base for Jesus. Whether he was couch-surfing in the home of the mother-in-law of his friend Peter or out roaming the countryside most of the Jesus stories are set in the Galilee.
The Mount of Beatitudes, site of the famous Sermon on the Mount containing the famous series of phrases beginning “blessed are,” is tranquil and scenic. The chapel overlooks the lake and it is easy to imagine a crowd of 5000 gathering just down the hill to be fed with words, deeds and bread and fish.
Capernaum, on the other hand, was where it seems Jesus felt most accepted and free to be who he really was since he spent a lot of time in this overflowing, commercial, fishing and trading city. There, in this city that was 800 years old by the time Jesus showed up, people also sought him out. Depending on the count, ten miracles are recorded.
What struck me about the two locations was that people with deep needs sought him out in both places.
My default “spiritual place” would lean towards the rural and scenic Mt. of Beatitudes but clearly those who felt the need of some transforming encounter in their lives did not hesitate to roam the city streets.
In the language of spirituality, people dealt with the absence of God in their lives in both locations.
At the very least that seems to eliminate the tendency to cry “If only I could get to …., then my life would be changed.” While it is true that a change of context can allow new perspective, from a Biblical perspective, we may encounter the life transforming power that Jesus represents anywhere.
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