Holy Land Tour | The Sea of Galilee

The beautiful Sea of Galilee (the Kinneret) sits in the North-East part of Israel. The Sea of Galilee is also called Lake Tiberias and the Jordan River flows through it.  It covers 64 square miles and is in some places 156 feet deep. The area surrounding the lake is a rural agricultural area.  The area of the Sea of Galilee is full of rich biblical history.

What Is The Importance Of The Sea Of Galilee?

The Sea of Galilee is the second-lowest lake on the earth next to the Dead Sea about 700 miles below sea level. 

Why Is The Sea Of Galilee Important To Christianity?

The Sea of Galilee is important to Christianity because it is a place of Jesus’ ministry.  He preached to his followers along its shores, walked on water, and called his disciple Peter to join him. He healed the man that was possessed by demons there, did a miracle causing his disciples to catch so many fish they almost sank their boat after an entire night of fishing and catching nothing.  It is the place where Jesus spoke and calmed a raging storm.  

Why Did Jesus Return To Galilee?

 

Jesus returned to Galilee after his cousin John the baptist was arrested. He came to be alone with the Father and have a time alone in prayer.  

Where Did Jesus Live In Galilee?

Jesus was born in Bethlehem, Jesus was considered a Galilean, and lived in the town of Nazareth near Sepphoris. 

Since the story of my Israeli experience is no longer in any particular order. Life sometimes interrupts the best intentions of staying on track and life has certainly been busy these last month’s causing me to take a break from writing. While praying where to start again, I’ve landed on the Sea of Galilee.

The Sea Of Galilee

 
We left the beautiful King David Hotel in Jerusalem and traveled north to reach the Sea of Galilee also known as Kinneret, Lake of Gennesaret, and Lake Tiberias. It took the entire day because we made several stops along the way, including getting baptized in the Jordan River at a spot they believe likely where John baptized Jesus – awesome!
 

Our Hotel At The Sea Of Galilee

 
Our second hotel here at the Sea of Galilee was not as nice as the first, especially the room itself. Well, nothing really but we’re not here to enjoy the hotel -right? Right! A great feature, however, was a large patio overlooking the beautiful Sea and surrounding hills. Each morning, we would fill up our plates with a bounty of food and sit on the patio to enjoy the fabulous view. Loved it!
 
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The Sea of Galilee
Boats docked on the Sea of Galilee

Excursion On The Sea Of Galilee

 

The morning after our arrival, we ate breakfast rather early and left on a surprise excursion. It was a beautiful morning and promised to be a warm day. The sky overhead a fabulous blue, however, the hillsides were a little hazy due to dust storms in Syria, directly across the Sea. Our destination turned out to be only a short distance from our hotel- the harbor. There, tied to the docks were two very large 1st-century replica fishing boats. We were pleasantly surprised to learn that not only were we going to board them, but sail out onto the sea!

Our group was large so the owner had tied the two boats together so that we could all fit. They had laid many plastic white patio chairs on the deck for seating. We made our way to the back. Due to a shortage of seating, which was ok with me, Eric and I sat on the wooden steps leading to a platform at the stern of the ship where among other things was a large flagpole. Slowly we traveled out to the middle of the sea. It was so peaceful, quiet, and relaxing which felt fabulous since we had been on a continuous mock 5 pace. They had Christian music playing softly in the background.

 
 
 
Sea of Galilee on 1st Century replica fishing boats
Our group on the first century replica fishing boats

Once we reached the middle, they dropped anchor. The first thing they did was announce that they had a tradition to raise the flag. As an honor to their American guests, they raised the American flag along with the Israeli flag and played the American National Anthem as well. This always makes me cry and being out on the Sea of Galilee doubly so. Pastor Jack and Amir then gave us the lay of the land followed by a Bible study.

We are surrounded by Biblical history. Magdala, home of Mary Magdalene. Gennesaret, Chorazin,

Matthew 11:12 – “Woe to you Chorazin”, Capernaum (Home of Peter and site of many miracles; Bethsaida (home of Phillip); Mount of Beatitudes. Continuing on, Bethsaida, Mathew 11:21 “Woe to you Bethsaida”; and even the suspected location of the drowning of the swine.

The Sea Of Galilee – Where Jesus Walked On Water

 

To be floating on the sea where we are absolutely positive Jesus not only sailed but walked is more than emotional!

Sea of Galilee on replica 1st century boat looking at the sea
Looking out from the boat at the Sea of Galilee.

All four of the Gospels describe this event, and why wouldn’t they! This was an event that at first scared the daylights out of them and then convinced them that he was, in fact, the Son of God.

The Sea Of Galilee Weather

 

First, let me explain that the Sea of Galilee is 680’ below sea level and the climate is semi-tropical with warm, moist air. Surrounding the lake are hillsides, some up to 2000’ high in the east towards Syria.

The weather at the top of the hills is cool and dry. The sea is relatively shallow as lakes and seas go, the deepest part about 200’ deep. All of these conditions are perfect for violent storms to suddenly occur with no notice. The winds coming from those high cools hills, whip down to the middle of the shallow warm sea and small boats especially are in real trouble. I’m told even in March of 1991 a severe windstorm caused waves as high as 10’ went onto the shores causing property damage.

My son Eric and I on a boat on the Sea of Galilee
Eric and I on the Sea of Galilee.

Jesus Preaches On The Shore of The Sea Of Galilee

 

On the shores of the Sea of Galilee, after one of Jesus’s teaching sermons, he made his disciples get into their fishing boat, instructing them to go to the other side of the lake ahead of Him. Jesus needed some alone time and went up on the mountain to pray.

Matthew 14:24 reports “Now when evening came, He was alone there. But the boat was now in the middle of the sea, tossed by the waves for the wind was contrary.” 

Mark 4:37 says 37 And a great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that it was already filling.

As you can imagine, they were afraid. The fourth watch is the darkest part of the night, before dawn. The disciples had been painfully rowing towards Capernaum approximately 3 or 4 miles (John 6:17). Suddenly, they think they see a ghost. They believed that right before death you see spirits so they naturally assumed they were about to drown in the raging sea. But it wasn’t a ghost, it was Jesus!

Israli and US Flag flying at the Sea of Galilee

 

25 Now in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went to them, walking on the sea. 26 And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out for fear.
27 But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.”
28 And Peter answered Him and said, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.”
29 So He said, “Come.” And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus. 30 But when he saw that the wind was boisterous,[b] he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, “Lord, save me!”
31 And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” 32 And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased.
33 Then those who were in the boat came and[c] worshiped Him, saying, “Truly You are the Son of God.”

Boats on the Sea of Galilee with the sun shining on the water
 

Can you imagine? I was floating here in this beautiful spot picturing this event in awe and wonder.
We were then challenged. “What is the wind in our life, and do we try to impose our will on God or pray that His will be done in our lives?” Do we believe Psalm 89:8-9

O Lord God of hosts,
Who is mighty like You, O Lord?
Your faithfulness also surrounds You.
9 You rule the raging of the sea;
When its waves rise, you still them.

I was reminded, that we rarely listen, but Jesus is there whispering or yelling to us during the windstorm “Be of good cheer. I am here!” “Take heart and do not be afraid”

 

Are we gripped by fear during our windstorms? If so, it will rob us of life and the blessing of seeing Jesus. Peter walked on water until he realizes the waves are enormous. We need to keep our eyes on Jesus and let Him calm the winds and the waves. Peter as an old man in 1 Peter 5:7 reminds us:


6 Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, 7 casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.

God Bless You All

Shalom from the Sea of Galilee – where He walked on water in the midst of the storm.

Debbie

 

Visiting The Holy Land – To see the rest of this journey here

 

Debbie lives in Southern California with her husband Doug and her children and grandchildren.










Scripture is taken from the New King James Version Copyright @ 1979, 1980, 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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