SBP In Israel Day 2: “Something Feels Different, More Spiritual”

Dr. Glenn Cassidy

Mr. Marlow and I were surprised by the rather large breakfast buffet at the hotel this morning. It easily rivaled any casino or resort’s breakfast buffet.  Students had no complaints about the breakfast given to them by their host families.


In what was a gorgeous day – sunny with temperatures in the mid-60’s – we headed first to Nazareth, the birthplace of Jesus. We visited Mt. Precipice. This is the mountain where Jesus is believed to have jumped to escape those who had been angered shortly after announcing his ministry in the temple. We saw, from a distance, Mt. Table – the site of the Transfiguration — and the Church of the Annunciation, built on the site where it is believed that the Angel visited Mary to announce her pregnancy with Jesus. Juan commented during this visit that “something feels different, more spiritual.” We concluded in Nazareth with a stop at a local, but well-known bakery and enjoyed some traditional Israeli sweets.

Students and faculty walk the streets of Nazareth one way to the Basilica of the Annunciation.

Following this, we headed toward Tiberius and the Sea of Galilee. On the way we passed by the town of Kafar Kanna, the village where Jesus attended the Wedding at Cana and turned water into wine. We also passed through the town of Galilee. Once at the Sea, we were reminded of Jesus’ activities around the Sea. This is where he walked on water. We were also able to see the hills of the Golan Heights and learned about the Israeli Syrian battles over those lands in the late 1960’s.

Touring the lower church and grotto of the Basilica of the Annunciation

Traveling around the Sea we visited Tabgha and the Church of the Seven springs. It was here that Jesus fed the 5000 with 2 loaves and 5 fish. We then went to the Mount of the Beatitudes. Unfortunately, when we arrived, the Franciscan Monastery there was temporarily closed to visitors, so we were not able to get a full appreciation of the site. It was on this mountain, overlooking the Sea of Galilee, that Jesus delivered the Sermon on the Mount.

Overlooking the Sea of Galilee.

The day was filled with opportunities to reflect on the life and ministry of Jesus. We were constantly reminded to try to picture what the area may have looked like in Jesus’ time. At each of these locations, we read verses from Scripture to remind us of what happened there. And we were surrounded by people demonstrating their faith in prayer and reverence.

Jack wears an apron around his exposed legs. He and others were required to cover themselves before entering the Basilica as shorts and spandex pants are not acceptable attire there.

After stopping for some food, we concluded the day with some horseback-riding at a nearby ranch. 

Jacob is prepared for his ride.

While it was a long day, it was filled with great experiences. I believe it I safe to say that we are all appreciative of the time we’ve had here thus far.


One final pleasant surprise was experienced by Mr. Marlow when, upon returning to his hotel room, he found his missing bag there waiting for him.


On day 3 we are headed to Jerusalem.