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Jesus Trail: Migdal to the Jordan River


Route I hiked this day

Route I hiked this day

I strolled through the orchards past Migdal in the sunrise to start my last day on the Jesus Trail. This enjoyable track brought me to Tabagha, and then Church of the Multiplication of Loaves and Fishes. This church commemorates the feeding of the thousands miracles, which occurred somewhere on the shoreline of the Sea of Galilee. I barely beat the arrival of the tourist buses, which meant I had at least a short time of peace. Inside the church was a nice mural of a loaf and fish, and I read through the Gospel accounts of the mass, miraculous feedings. Nearby was the Church of the Primacy of St. Peter, a doctrine in which I do not believe, but the interior of the church was still interesting, with a large rock used as the base for the altar.

View of the Sea of Galilee from the Mt. of Beatitudes

Sea of Galilee

I walked partway up the Mt. of Beatitudes, ripping yet another hole in my pants when I caught them on barbwire. I did not have a strong desire to visit the Franciscan church on top, so I read through the Sermon on the Mount and Great Commission from the hillside.

Job’s Spring was nearby, which was supposed to be a nice setting, but all I could find was what looked like the outlet to a storm sewer (but may in fact have been the spring’s outflow). I continued along the Sea of Galilee to Capernaum, following an elaborately built, wide pilgrim sidewalk by myself, while countless tourist buses passed on the road.


Myself standing at the entrance to Capernaum

The ruins at Capernaum were just old stones, similar to many other ancient cities, but Jesus most likely literally walked on those streets, which was amazing to think about. A Catholic church — built suspended over a house attributed to St. Peter — is the only church I have seen where “spaceship” and “octopus” are apt adjectives to describe its appearance.

Only part of the large number of tourist buses outside Capernaum

The official end of the Jesus Trail was in Capernaum, but I continued on toward the Jordan River. The Greek Orthodox church at Capernaum was only a couple hundred yards away from the Catholic one, but I had to take a long, circuitous, backtracking route to actually get to that church. It was a beautiful church, with a nice shady garden and cold tap water. I continued through Capernaum National Park along the Sea of Galilee along a nice path. I reached Amnon Beach, which finally seemed to allow swimming. I took a quick dip, mostly as a pseudo bath to wash off the dried sweat and dirt from a couple days walking through Israel.

Jordan River

The Jordan River

A bit further I came across mobile military bridges leftover from the 1967 war. These were on the banks of the Jordan River the river in which Jesus was baptized. Today unfortunately the river at the entrance to the Sea of Galilee is little more than a stagnant creek, since much of the water has already been siphoned off up stream for human use. You could not have gotten me in that water. The tour groups go to the ruins of Bethesda and a park a couple kilometers upstream, which I assume is nicer. I did not have the time or desire to walk the extra few kilometers myself though. Instead I caught the minibus to Tiberius and a bigger bus to Jerusalem, undoing in a couple hours all the walking I had done on the Jesus Trail over the past two days.