Caesarea Philippi, Upper Galilee, and Mount of Beatitudes

In Luke 9:20 it says “[Christ] said unto them, But whom say ye that I am? Peter, answering said, The Christ of God”. Caesarea Philippi is where this powerful exchange took place. Jeffrey R. Holland spoke these words about these verses from the New Testament “he is clearly the least abstract being in our lives. So, while we must be fully aware of the limitations—in our lives, in our language, in our ability to comprehend or appreciate—we still do well to praise Deity by name and in some small way come to know him better by what he says he is… ‘Whom say ye that I am?’ We say with unshakable certainty, ‘Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.’ We say he lives! and that through him and in him we live to become again begotten sons and daughters unto God. We say this is his true and only church, that his prophets speak today, that his kingdom inexorably rolls forth to fill the whole earth with its magnificence. We say he loves all men and we must love them, too. I know that my Redeemer lives and that is wonderful—wonderful to me.”

Caesarea Philippi is about a 2 1/2 hour drive from Tel Aviv and straddles the borders of Israel, Lebanon and Syria. I imagine that there is no more gorgeous time of year to visit it than spring when it is green, lush and quiet. It was once a Roman city built around 20 BC and there are many ruins still standing to explore on a visit. Our favorite part was this huge cave where they supposedly performed ancient sacrifices.

Caesarea Philippi is about a 2 1/2 hour drive from Tel Aviv and straddles the borders of Israel, Lebanon and Syria. I imagine that there is no more gorgeous time of year to visit it than spring when it is green, lush and quiet. It was once a Roman city built around 20 BC and there are many ruins still standing to explore on a visit. Our favorite part was this huge cave where they supposedly performed ancient sacrifices.

20190224_MNT-OF-BEAT_x044.jpg

Caesarea Philippi sits on a spring that feeds into the Jordan River and it is just beautiful. We walked around on a short path that took us by gushing waterfalls, ancient ruins and even some orange trees. The day was overcast, but it was still beautiful.

20190224_MNT-OF-BEAT_x037.jpg
20190224_MNT-OF-BEAT_x041.jpg
20190224_MNT-OF-BEAT_x040.jpg
20190302_UPPER-GALILEE_099.jpg
20190302_UPPER-GALILEE_104.jpg

Tessa found this interesting stick and brought it home. It hasn’t left her side since. She loved walking along the walls and looking for tadpoles in the ponds formed in the ancient ruins from the crazy rains we’ve been having the last few days.

20190224_MNT-OF-BEAT_x038.jpg
20190224_MNT-OF-BEAT_x039.jpg

Next, we drove up the street to Sa’ar Falls and seriously can you even believe this place? I think I imagined Israel as more desolate and desert-like but I’ve been so surprised by how lush it is- we have seen some incredibly gorgeous things while living here and this one ranks right near the top. The falls were huge! The girls loved exploring, climbing and running around all over this area.

20190224_MNT-OF-BEAT_x035.jpg
20190224_MNT-OF-BEAT_x036.jpg

These two are always up for an adventure and followed their Dad onto a closed, muddy trail to the foot of the falls for a closer look.

20190224_MNT-OF-BEAT_x033.jpg

The flowers are blooming everywhere right now and it makes me so happy. The lilies of the field (red poppies) are everywhere and they are stunning and stop me in my tracks every time.

20190302_UPPER-GALILEE_128-(1).jpg

From Caesarea Philippi, we drove south to Galilee making a stop at our favorite place, Eremos Grotto. The setting here just above the sea simply cannot be beat. Its peaceful, lush, and has perfect views. We’ve held several Come Follow Me lessons here as a family and have learned to appreciate every square inch of this part of Israel and its significance in the life of Christ. I don’t think a single place in Israel (outside of Jerusalem) has meant as much to us.

20190302_UPPER-GALILEE_079-(1).jpg
20190302_UPPER-GALILEE_065-(1).jpg

We talked more about the Beatitudes and the Sermon on the Mount- literally where it took place. Physically immersing ourselves in the place where these events took place is something we we will never, ever take for granted.

20190302_UPPER-GALILEE_145-(1).jpg

And I cannot state how strongly I feel about how gorgeous this time of year is. The hills and valleys around the Sea of Galilee at sunset are unreal. Its no wonder that Christ spent so much of His life here.

20190302_UPPER-GALILEE_159-(1).jpg
20190302_UPPER-GALILEE_054-(1).jpg
20190302_UPPER-GALILEE_045-(1).jpg

We’ve taken a few bunches of flowers from this favorite spot and pressed them at home and hope to keep them forever. Just the same hope I have for the feelings we felt in this amazing place.