I’ve just come back from a pilgrimage in the Holy Land. We spent some time in Jerusalem, but it was at the Sea of Galilee that I had a greater sense of presence.
Ignatius of Loyola wanted to go to the Holy Land to touch the physical places that Jesus had touched. The image I have in my head is of Ignatius at the site of the Ascension (or at least that which is claimed to be such…) touching the rock. I was more aware of Ignatius in Jerusalem than Jesus.
In Jerusalem I had very little sense of walking where Jesus walked. Even the mass inside the tomb in the Holy Sepulchre – touching the rock on which he was supposed to be laid was somehow silent.
But as I sat with my feet in the water of the Sea of Galilee, I couldn’t help but think about the water molecules. It is possible that water molecules that were in this body of water 2000 years ago are still present today.
As I looked across the lake to hills of the Golan Heights, that view would have been much the same. My feet in the water, which itself is the same and not the same as it was then.
It was in the water molecules that presence came. And with presence, for a moment, peace.