Introduction to the Sea of Galilee
Sailinlg on the Sea of Galilee
On all of our Octagon Tours we take our visitors on a musical praise boat with much singing and worship, led by Israeli recording artist Daniel Carmel.
The Sea of Galilee is the largest freshwater lake in Israel, and it is approximately 33 miles in circumference, 13 miles long, and 8 miles wide. It has a maximum depth of approximately 141 feet. Being on the Jordan Rift Valley it is also the lowest freshwater lake on Earth and the second-lowest lake in the world (after the Dead Sea, which is a saltwater lake).
The lake is fed partly by underground springs, although its main source is the Jordan River which flows through it from north to south. The lake provides the greatest source of freshwater for the people of the State of Israel.
Even though it fits the definition of a “lake”, it is often called “The Sea of Galilee”, because in the middle ages, European Christians who had never had the opportunity to see the lake misunderstood the actual size of it and proceeded to call it a “sea”.
During the time of Jesus there was a ribbon of towns all around the lake, the largest of these being Tiberias (the seat of power for Herod Antipas) and Capernaum (the adopted hometown of Jesus). The first-century historian Flavius Josephus also reported a thriving fishing industry at this time, with 230 boats regularly working in the lake.
Much of the ministry of Jesus occurred on the shores of Lake Galilee, with many of the Gospel stories occurring either totally or partially on the surface of the lake itself. These include two occasions when Jesus calmed the storm winds that menaced the Apostles who were hunkered down in a boat (The Merged Gospels, stories 93, 102).