According to Christian belief, the last three years of his life before his last supper was spent by Jesus on the road. After his baptism in the Jordan River, Jesus started his journey throughout the villages of the Galilee where he spread among their residents the message about the nearing salvation. This Journey was filled with miracles which demonstrated the divine abilities of this spiritual young man who turned specifically to the poor and remote: he healed the sick, resurrected the dead, demonstrated walking on water and miraculously turned a small amount of food into a large feast. To all of the wretched and forlorn that Jesus met he had a special message- though you live a hard life now in this world, you will be rewarded in the next. It will all be worth it. Two thousand years later, last week, the "Gospel Trail”, which traces that same journey, was inaugurated by Israel’s Ministry of Tourism.
Not Only for Christians
After a day of walking, an enjoyable bicycle ride or horse back riding, with the sun shining on your face and the light blue of the Sea of Galilee sparkling next to you, I can assure you that you will be having a good time. It does not matter who it is that you are praying to, if at all- this trail is not for Christians only. The "Gospel Trail” is a detailed and fascinating historical monument of the Land of Israel with its many conquerors and the various peoples who lived in it. The "Gospel Trail” follows the journey of Jesus in the Lower Galilee from the village of his childhood to the north of the Sea of Galilee, where he spread his message, along 62 kilometers of a dirt road which crosses settlements and orchards and is suitable for walking, bicycling or horse back riding. The "Gospel Trail” begins at Mount Precipice and ends in Kfar Nahum (Capernaum). Instead of the usual trail color marking, which is familiar to every experienced hiker, the "Gospel Trail” is marked throughout by a special logo which looks like an ancient stone tower featuring a colorful mosaic, next to a trail marking.
"The new trail is expected to enrich the Israeli tourism product for Christian tourists, who represent approximately 65% of incoming tourism to Israel, as well as to provide Israeli travelers with a new and unique destination”, says the Director General of the Israel Ministry of Tourism, Noaz Bar Nir.
Stas Misezhnikov, Israel’s Minister of Tourism, who has inaugurated this new project with the help of his legs and those of the horse that he was riding, believes that this trail will enhance the spiritual experience of each tourist and traveler who will visit Israel, and especially the Christian ones: "The Christian tourism is the main anchor of Israel’s incoming tourism and it will have a great positive influence on taking advantage of the full touristic potential of the area of the Sea of Galilee through creating a forward economical momentum in the north of Israel with the creation of new jobs and an increase in income which will follow this tourism”.
The notion is not new: already three years ago a man by the name of Maoz Inon, an entrepreneur in the field of tourism, came up with an excellent idea that he called the "Jesus Trail”, which is similar to the current "Gospel Trail”. According to Noaz Bar Nir, the Director General of the Israel Ministry of Tourism, the "Jesus Trail” passes in parts through private lands and is also more suitable to the more fit of the hikers.
The Miracle of the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fishes – in the Restaurants on the Shores of the Sea of Galilee
Israel’s Minister of Tourism recommends walking, bicycling or horse back riding on four main sections of the "Gospel Trail”. And one can also combine it with an enchanting boat ride in the Sea of Galilee. The main part of the "Gospel Trail” begins in Mount Precipice, passes through the Beit Keshet Forest, the Arbel Stream, Tel Kinrot, Tabgha, and goes all the way to the Kfar Nahum (Capernaum) National Park. Additional trails come out of Kafr Kanna, Mount Arbel and Karnei Hittin (the Horns of Hattin). All trails end at Kfar Nahum (Capernaum), the spiritual center in which Jesus resided.
The views are magnificent here. If you thought that you have already seen the Sea of Galilee from every possible angle, you will have to admit that here this changes. It happened to me when Yiska Harani, a doctoral student in Religious Sciences, an expert on Christianity, and an advisor to the Israel Ministry of Tourism on the "Gospel Trail”, told me about Igeria of Spain, the first female traveler who walked these trails following Jesus already in the year of 381 and described in her journals how she sat in a cave between the Mount of Beatitudes and Tabgha, where, according to the writings, Jesus taught his students. From the stone bench I look over the lake and the mountains around it and imagine Iberia looking around much in the same way with excitement. This is how I feel also upon hearing our guide telling us about the Miracle of the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fishes which Jesus has performed in Tabgha near Ginosar, when he managed to feed five thousand hungry people with only two fish and five loaves of bread, finding myself in the company of the tens of reporters who were invited to write about the launching of the "Gospel Trail”, sitting at a table filled with food on the shore of the Sea of Galilee. Suddenly past and present gently meet.
The "Gospel Trail” is suitable for everyone, from the very young to the old with an average walking capability, and it offers the best views of the north of the country spiced up with Biblical stories and getting to know the origin of religions. The trails are convenient, inviting and fascinating in their beauty. Come here on your next vacation and you will not be disappointed.