Sea of Galilee

Posted by on Jul-25-2009

Sea is always used as a synonym for vastness. It also used in negative sense because of the salty water. But all seas are not salty. Some fresh water lakes are also called sea one of them is the ‘Sea Of Galilee’.

Sea of Galilee is a freshwater lake in northeastern Israel through which the Jordan River flows. The lake is pear-shaped, with a length from north to south of 23 km , a maximum width which occurs in the north of 13 km and a maximum depth of 48 m ; it covers about 166 sq km . The lake lies 209 m below the level of the Mediterranean Sea, and its bed forms a part of the great Great Rift Valley,it is the lowest freshwater lake on Earth and the second-lowest lake in the world. During a former geological epoch the lake was part of a great inland sea extending from the Hula marshes in northern Israel to a point some 64 km south of the Dead Sea. The lake is completely encircled by a beach, bordered by escarpments on the east and southwest and by plains on the north and northwest.

The water of lake Tiberias or Sea of Galilee is cool and clear . There are many varieties of fish, notably sardines and tilapia, which are caught on a commercial scale . The grebe, gull, pelican and other species of birds are abundant. Tortoises, turtle, crayfish can be found along the shores.

It is also one of the most famous Bible Places in Bible History and is best known for its association with the lives of Jesus Christ and his disciples. In the Bible the lake is referred to as the Sea of Chinnereth or Chinneroth, Gennesar, Lake of Gennesaret, Sea of Galilee, and Sea of Tiberias.The Sea of Galilee was the location where Jesus conducted much of his ministry. Because of local trade and fishing, there were many small settlements all around the lake. On the shores of the Sea of Galilee, Jesus called four of his early disciples, the fishermen Peter, Andrew, John and James. Many of Christ’s miracles were performed on or around the Sea of Galilee, including his walking on water and calming the sea. Jesus gave his Sermon on the Mount on a hill overlooking the lake and he performed the miracle of the loaves and the fishes at Tabgha right on the lake’s shoreline. Mary Magdalene was from Migdal, and three disciples were born in Bethsaida along the shores of the sea.

Aside from a few natural inlets on the northern side, the Sea of Galilee does not have any natural harbors. The fishing industry that grew up around the lake as early as the Early Bronze Age (3300 – 2300 BC) resulted in the construction of artificial breakwaters. The first ancient harbor was discovered at Kursi in 1970 and since then 15 additional harbors have been identified. Most assume that these were in use during the flourishing first century AD and it is certain that Jesus and his disciples were familiar with many of them. The harbors that the disciples most likely would have frequented were those at Capernaum, Tabgha, Gennesar and Magdala. The Capernaum harbor is particularly noteworthy as it extended for more than 800m along the shore, a length greater than that of the city. The city of Tiberius, which was built during Jesus’ lifetime, to honor the Roman Caesar Tiberius survives today.

In the modern era, the first collective settlements in the modern Jewish State of Israel were established in the southwestern corner of the Sea of Galilee.

The rabbis declared of the Sea of Galilee that, ‘Although God has created seven seas, yet He has chosen this one as His special delight.’ Certainly Jesus must have felt the same way…

Sunset over the Sea of Galilee

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