Learning to Be Galilee

44211061_2058728190858335_5136780246065872896_nDuring my recent trip to the Holy Land, I had requested a certain guide – Mike Abu Libdeh – or as he is most known – Mike Be Galilee.

He was born in Jerusalem. His mother died in childbirth. He was raised in a Greek orphanage and he attended school in Crete. Instead of pursuing his college passion for biology, he answered the call to return to Jerusalem and lead pilgrims on tours of the Holy Lands.  He is a deep person of faith and is part of the Greek Orthodox tradition. His spiritual insights were a highlight for all of us.

As you might guess from his nickname, Mike encouraged us to “Be Galilee”.  It derives from the stories Mike tells and he tells them over and over.

He reminds you that water is a big deal.  Without water, people die. In Israel, every drop is as precious as life itself.  So water serves as a vital metaphor for a life of faith.


From the north, 3 sources combine to create the Jordan River as it flows into the vibrant Sea of Galilee.  Galilee has always represented life as it provides: Water, Fishing, Trade, and Tourism. As the Jordan winds it was south from the Sea it ends at the Dead Sea.  The Dead Sea is the lowest point on the Earth and sustains no life.

So given a choice – Be Galilee.  (BTW, did you catch the imagery of 3 sources becoming 1 River of Life providing the water of life)

From this metaphor of water and life, Mike has developed 5 keys for our life of faith:

  1. Be Galilee is a way of life to enjoy the gift God gave to all of us the love and our humanity to share and never close our hearts but keep our souls giving as a natural running spring.”
  2. Be Attitude is to believe and practice on daily basis in our life the sermon Jesus preached on the mount of beatitudes, as rules of love as way of life and as blessings to all.”
  3. Be the House of God, if each one of us tries his best to be the house of God then our world will be filled with peace as you will always try to purify your soul through your acts and your relationship with God and with others around you.”
  4. Be Home as someone around you needs you to be his or her home. Warm home is in us in our hearts and souls where others will never feel homeless in their connections with you. As long we try our best to be home for others we will find someone to be home for us in which you find your peace and love and stability.”
  5. Be Change. Don’t wait for others to be what you want. Change and be what God has called you to be.”

You can summarize it all with the call to Be Galilee.

As a follower of Jesus, live life to its fullest, serve, share, and love. In your actions be a natural vibrant source of life (a river).

How might you be Galilee in your home, your work, your school, with your circle of friends and coworkers, and yes, with your family?

Or as Mike puts it, “Be Galilee!”


I am a United Methodist Pastor and have the privilege of serving as the Senior Pastor for the church of my childhood. I preach in a place I once was an acolyte. I love to preach, but more importantly I love to teach. I firmly believe that Faith Matters and should affect how we live. This blog is a place where I come to share the randomness that is life and faith ... and the intersection of the two.

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