A day of reflection
I’m sitting here in my twin bed as my roomie Nancy Jane peacefully sleeps. Bless her heart. She only got three hours rest last night because we are sharing a computer to blog our travel adventures during Israeli Invasion 2008. Tonight it was my turn to go last. It’s 12:54 p.m.
As I think back on this day during its last six minutes of existence, I’m working hard to recall details. It seems I told myself several times today, “Remember this moment Lincee. Right now. Take it all in.” And there were several. Join me as I reflect.
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It’s complete and total irony that this morning started off with reflection. One would think that with a view of the Galilee Sea, like the one we have from our room, I would be meditating on the day and preparing my soul for what inspirations God had in store for me.
I was staring at my reflection in the mirror as I applied my makeup on the balcony. My sweet yet blunt Mother always told me, “Some days it’s good to go out in the sun and look at yourself in the mirror. And make sure you have some tweezers, because there are going to be things you need to pluck.”
All I can say is thank you Mother for your weird advice and thank goodness my tweezers were not confiscated in airport security because I was shocked at what had miraculously sprouted obviously overnight, because LORD HELP ME if that was there in between my eyebrows all day long yesterday.
After a breakfast of yogurt and honey, we all went down to the shore and boarded a boat that would take us across to the other side of the Sea. It was a sailboat like the disciples would have used. Except ours had a motor. And an American flag flying. And a PA system playing the “Star Spangled Banner.” Being the patriotic group we are, we all stand in our Jesus Boat, cross our hearts and sing proudly.
Our dear tour guide Ruti (love her) begins talking about how we are on the very body of water that Christ calmed during a storm. The guy driving, in dramatic fashion, cut the engine and we drifted in the middle as Pastor Dave retold the story of how Jesus walked on water out to his disciples and Peter attempted to walk out towards him. Then Peter sank.
So there I am. In the Jesus Boat. In the place where Jesus calmed the storm and walked on water. It’s not fake. It’s not on TV. It’s under me at that moment.
Reflection: What faith Peter had! Sure he lost sight, and fell. But he got out of the boat. Can I say the same thing?
JESUS BOAT MUSEUM
Long story short…they found an old boat, excavated it and now it’s in a museum. The best part of this museum is the gift shop. You would have thought we had never seen souvenirs before! There were books, replicas of the Jesus Boat, camels, menorahs, JerUSAlem (yes the USA was bold) t-shirts, olive wood boxes, olive wood ornaments and lastly, olive wood “Shalom Y’all” magnets.
Our group is from Texas. There was nary a “Shalom Y’all” magnet left in the joint. Rudi thinks this is funny and christens our group, “TEXAS.” Now any time she needs us to gather in a crowded place, she just yells “TEXAS” to the top of her Jewish lungs and we come running. Because we are scared she is going to take us to the Nazareth Village again if we don’t.
MT. of BEATITUDES
This is where Jesus had the sermon on the mount (Matthew 5-7). We gathered for a small talk and prayer. We learned that this is the only mountain that has a valley that is capable of seating a “multitude” of people. If I had been counting, I’m sure there would have been well over 20 or 30 nationalities in the 30 minute span we visited. We discussed how this must be what heaven is like: all colors, religious beliefs and ethnicities gathered together in one place to glorify God. Amazing.
Our GBC group leader Dwight spoke in front of the Catholic Chapel on the grounds. I walked away with a new encouragement to not fall in the trap of being spiritually predictable.
Reflection: I’m standing where thousands heard Jesus speak on the top of a mountain. How cool is that? Remember this moment when you are attempting to not be spiritually predictable Lincee.
And I thought the Mt. of Beatitudes was crazy crowded. Not compared to Tabgha. This is where Jesus fed the 5,000 with only two fish and five loaves of bread.
Reflection: Clearly, we tourists were trying to recreate the feeding of the 5,000, because there were about 5,000 people here to see one rock that Jesus stood on. Don’t think I didn’t push my way through to see that rock. The coy pond was neat and I’m pretty sure the tourists are multiplying as they leave the chapel. Oh look! A gift shop with tons of tchotckies made out of olive wood. Now where did I put that shekel?
At Capernaum, we made our way to Peter’s mother-in-law’s house. There is a long explanation why Peter lived with the mother-in-law. It had something to do with his wife having no brothers and being the eldest daughter, her husband has to move in. Regardless, Rudi was telling the story of how this was the house that the two men lowered their sick friend in from the roof using a mat, in hopes that Jesus would heal him. Too bad there is a space ship chapel built on top of the house now. Kind of ruins it for me, but it was still cool.
A stone’s throw away was the synagogue for the village. I’m posing by the pillars that are still standing. A weird and exciting feeling.
Reflection: Capernaum was pretty cool. I find it odd that you had to pay a shekel to go to the bathroom. Which was located next to a gift shop with some rockin’ Jewish memorabilia. SHALOM INDEED!
If you are ever on Capernaum highway between Tiberius and the City on the Hill, drop on by The Tanureen. You’ll know you are there not by the ginormous sign pointing to the entrance, but by the gas pumps.
No, no…it’s not the cleanest bathroom this side of the Jordan. It’s even BETTER! That’s right ladies and gentlemen! Lunch! Ruti style! So you know it’s going to be expensive and pretty much disgusting!
David our bus driver, who knows me as “Lindy” and speaks Spanish (what?) to me, steers our bus by pumps four and five. We all sit there thinking David is getting gas, but Rudi mans her microphone and explains to us that we are about to eat Peter’s fish. It’s all inclusive (fish, salad, drink, dessert) and we can choose to have the head of the fish left on our sliced off.
It’s nice to have choices.
She ushers us through the doors of the mighty Tanureen. According to the street sign, the food is oriental. Oriental fish heads. Yummy.
It’s like a Dairy Queen that has been renovated into a BBQ joint that was later transformed into the local “nice” place to eat. With checkered tablecloths on picnic benches and plastic chairs. And a bar. I’d be willing to bet there was a shekel operated slot machine behind some mysterious swinging doors. But hey…you didn’t have to pay to go to the bathroom. SHALOM!
We sit. Locate the hummus…because it’s ALWAYS there…and slather on the pita bread. Nancy Jane insists I eat an olive. It was disgusting. It’s my opinion. But it’s true. I take my napkin off of the table and notice it is printed with the Tanureen logo. Except below the logo, it reads, “Fine Lebanese Cuisine.”
Great. Lebanese-enhanced oriental fish heads. SHA-LOM!
Our waiter, who was NOT vying for employee of the month, took our order. NJ and I decided to go all out and experience the Tanureen as she was meant to be experienced.
Lincee: “We would like to share a Peter fish. With the head please.”
Oye vey. I ate Peter fish. And part of the tail. And am pretty sure NJ located the pituitary gland of this fried swimmer’s brain.
It came with French fries.
Our dessert consisted of a plate of dates. They were disgusting. It’s my opinion, but it’s true.
Waiter of the Month shows up again and charges us $36. He interjects several times that the tip is not included. We question him about the price of Peter’s fish. Was the fisherman of this catch a descendant of Peter himself? Was there a shekel in the mouth of the fish that we missed?
WOM: “It’s $36.”
Lincee: “Does that include a tank of gas for our bus?”
WOM (not amused): “That’s before tip.”
Reflection: I figure Ruti’s last name must be Tanureen. And since I love Ruti, I toss out two 20s to the rude waiter, shout “La CHAYIM” and decide that it was the best $36 I’ve ever spent on a Lebanese-enhanced oriental Peter fish head gas station restaurant.
This was the emotional leg of our journey today. We had the opportunity to be baptized in the Jordan River and I took it. I was baptized as a child and fully believe I knew in my heart that Jesus Christ was my Lord and Savior. But the past three years have been a tumultuous up and down roller coaster for me, and as a result, I have grown in my faith so much. I felt the need to be dunked and rise again as new. Our leader Dwight baptized eight of us…right where John baptized Jesus. He was sweet enough to have prepared verses for each of us that he recited before we were submerged. It was a precious moment that words will never do justice and I will not even begin to describe in this moment. But it will be with me forever.
Reflection: “The Lord is my Light and Salvation. Whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life. Of whom shall I be afraid?” Psalm 24:1
What can I say? It was a long day. Nancy Jane bought this for me. A true friend indeed. We drank it with hummus. She had olives too. I did not. Because they are disgusting. It’s my opinion, but it’s true.
I’m extremely tired, but dedicated to the avid readers of this website. You guys rock and I am utterly amazed that you who are reading these words right now have taken the time to share this journey with me.
For that, I thank you. LA CHAYIM! (must pronounce with flem sound in your throat…)
I have been reading your Bachelor recaps for many seasons, but these from Israel are amazing! I have always wanted to go on the very trip you are on and I love hearing about everything you’re getting to do and experience. What an amazing thing, I’m sure, to be able to walk and spend time where Jesus did! Thank you so much for these daily blogs! It’s so fun to read, but also so encouraging to hear of your spiritual journey as well. I am so happy for you that you got to be baptized in the Jordan River! WOW!
Wow Lincee.. the story of your baptism made me teary eyed. May the Lord continue to bless you.
Ditto Amy #1! Lincee, reading all of this (and now Nancy Jane’s blog also) is helping me realize that I just have to do this trip no matter what. I have always wanted to and you are inspiring me to really get it figured out and go! I would absolutely LOVE to be baptized in the Jordan. I can only imagine how amazing that was and I’m so glad you got to do it. Like you, I was baptized early (age 8) when I asked Jesus into my heart and have always known that he is my Lord and Savior, but have certainly been through a lot in the 25 years since that time. To me, there just would be nothing like a 2nd baptism in the Jordan. Thank you for taking the time to share your experience with all of us. It is funny and inspiring at the same time! Have a great rest of the journey!
For some reason, the number eight came out as a smiley face in my post above…
That’s about all I can come up with. You have been truly blessed to have been a part of this, and I thank you so much for sharing it all with us.
Godspeed, friend, and travel safely.
The recaps of your trip to Israel are a real blessing to me. I have been reading your recaps since the old days when a friend of a friend would forward me the emails, but to know that you are a sister in Christ is very special. My husband has wanted to go to Israel for a long time, and our pastor at our church in DC would take a group every year. I have resisted traveling overseas, as the thought of the flight makes my skin crawl, but seeing your experience makes me believe it would be so worth it. Thanks for taking the time to show all of us what it’s like to be where our Savior was so many years ago. Be careful and have fun!
Thank you for sharing this amazing journey with us!
Shalom! I am really enjoying reading your recaps and today’s brought back many a memory. I was in Israel almost 20 years ago for 6 weeks with my youth group (Jewish) and I am busting a gut remembering paying to pee (OY VEY) and the multitude of humus. Not sure what your trip includes, but if in Jerusalem visiting Ben Yehuda street is something not to be missed (shopping galore). I miss the falafal stands as prevalent as McD’s here and milling on the streets with armed soldiers while initially intimidating was one of the safest and most comfortable sites after just a short time. Wishing you the best in your spiritual journey and enjoy some cucumbers and tomatoes for breakfast for me!
I’m having a blast following along with you & NJ on your trip! Thanks for blogging. I remember some of the same things you’re seeing/doing when I was there 24 years ago (that makes me sound sooo old) You are cracking me up as always! I think its incredible that you were able to be baptized in the Jordan…teary eyes & big hug to you my friend 🙂 Although I’m not sure I know you anymore….hummus, olives, fish heads….whaaat?!!! We’re going for a burger when you get home, girlfriend. Love ya’!
The Peter Fish lunch story has me sitting here with tears in my eyes; I was literally laughing with my head back at one point. Fabulous! Best travelogue ever!
Lincee – I’ve been a reader since Firestone days…. AWESOME timing on your trip. My parents went to the Jesus Boat, Jordan River, Capernaum just last week; today they are in Jerusalem. I haven’t heard a word from them and so it was great for me to read your experiences as they were there just 2 days before you! Loving it. Congrats on the baptism, too – I’m sure that was an experience.
Oh, I so want to go there some day. I’m rejoicing with you as you walk in Jesus’ footsteps. May His love surround you!
Lincee- I too have been reading your Bachelor recaps for years (from the forwarded, forwarded, forwarded days). It is awesome to know just how many people read your blog and are being influenced by you in a different way now. I can only imagine how unbelievable your Baptism was and how many people will be touched by your experience. My your trust in the Lord lead others to Him. God Bless you! Thanks for keeping us laughing!
>>You guys rock and I am utterly amazed that you who are reading these words right now have taken the time to share this journey with me.
Quite clearly it it the other way around. YOU rock and we are all lucky that you’ve taken the time to share!
What an amazing journey, both spiritual and enlightening, and thank YOU for taking the time to share it with us! It is a gift you give us to share your experiences. Congratulations on your baptism. What an honor and blessing to be baptised in the Jordan River. I would love to take that trip someday. Thank you for not only sharing your personal experiences, but also for cracking us up with every hilarious anecdote and hysterical recap! You have a gift girl!