Jesus and his disciples seemed to stay on the move all the time, and much of the activity centered around the Sea of Galilee. I have never visited the Holy Land, but I know that, while they stayed on the move, we are not talking about great distances here. Nevertheless, wherever Jesus and his disciples visited, they most often attracted a crowd.
Though I have never visited any of these places in person, I recognize many of the names of towns and places: Jerusalem, Bethany, Jericho and the Mount of Olives in Judea; Nazareth, Cana and Mount Tabor in Galilee; and Capernaum and Bethsaida, located on the Sea of Galilee.
Our Sequence Hymn (567) mentions Gennesaret, another town located on the Sea of Galilee (I looked it up), which is always a topic of conversation in choir rehearsal whenever we rehearse this beautiful hymn. “Where’s Gennesaret?” “How do you pronounce Gennesaret?”
Tired and hungry from “doing the Lord’s work,” as we say, in this Sunday’s Gospel story, Jesus invited the disciples to come away with him by themselves and find a quiet place to rest and refresh. However, many saw them and recognized them and went ahead to meet them when they landed and moored the boat on the shore of Gennesaret. After they came ashore, many more rushed around to bring the sick to Jesus for healing. No rest for the weary: Jesus began to teach again, and many were healed.
The second stanza of Hymn 567, a beautiful text of 19th-century English priest Edward Hayes Plumptre (1821-1891), Dean of Wells Cathedral, is almost a direct account of that day:
And lo! thy touch brought life and health;
gave hearing, strength, and sight;
and youth renewed and frenzy calmed owned thee,
the Lord of light:
and now, O Lord, be near to bless,
almighty as of yore,
in crowded street, by restless couch, as by Genessaret’s shore.