Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The Sea of Galilee

The Sea of Galilee is the world's lowest freshwater lake at 680 feet below sea level. This lake is about 13 miles long and as wide as 8 miles. In some spots, it is as deep as 150 feet. It was also known as the "Lake of Chinnereth," the "Sea of Tiberias," or the "Lake of Gennesaret." This lake is in the center of some of the most fertile area of Israel. It is surrounded by bountiful fields and lush orchards.

It was the center of the fishing industry and a main source of income in Jesus' day. More than 40 different species of fish come from these waters. The fish that were caught were dried or salted and then exported through all of the region and beyond. It was here where Peter and Andrew were tending their nets when Jesus invited them to become "fishers of men."

It was from the seaside town of Capernaum that He launched His Galilean ministry. Mary Magdalene came from the tiny, nearby village of Magdala. It was on these beautiful shores that Jesus fed the crowd of 5,000 with the five loaves and two fishes of the boy's lunch. It was here that he drove the demons from the man possessed and into the herd of swine who drowned themselves in the lake. It was here that Jesus appeared to His fishing disciples after the resurrection with the invitation to come and eat the fish which He had prepared on the fire. And it was in this setting that Jesus restored Peter by commanding him to "feed" His sheep.

And would you believe that to this day, the water is still pure enough from which to drink...

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