Our visit to The Holy Land included a boat trip on the Sea of Galilee as well as visiting many towns around it. In the Bible, this body of water is called several other names including the Sea of Tiberias, the Lake of Gennesaret and Lake Kinneret. The “Sea” is actually the largest fresh water lake in Israel and is the lowest freshwater lake on Earth at approximately 700 feet below sea level. It is approximately 33 miles in circumference, 13 miles long and 8 miles wide. The lake is fed partly by underground springs, although its main source is the Jordan River.
“Because it lies low in the Great Rift Valley, surrounded by hills, the Sea of Galilee is prone to sudden turbulence. With little warning, mighty squalls can sweep down the valleys around the lake, whipping its tranquil surface into treacherous waves.” *
In modern times tourism has become the major local industry. In Jesus’ time it was fishing. The fish were caught, dried and exported all over the Roman world. At one time the Lake was also the main source of water but now great conservation measures are in place. Today the lake supplies only 10% of the country’s drinking water and there are bans on fishing from April 15 through August 15th.
It was a calm day in May, therefore no fishing, when we sat on the Sea and I could only imagine what it looked like when Jesus walked here. Yes, He walked here!
22 Immediately after this, (the feeding of the 5000) Jesus insisted that his disciples get back into the boat and cross to the other side of the lake, while he sent the people home.23 After sending them home, he went up into the hills by himself to pray. Night fell while he was there alone.24 Meanwhile, the disciples were in trouble far away from land, for a strong wind had risen, and they were fighting heavy waves.25 About three o’clock in the morning Jesus came toward them, walking on the water.26 When the disciples saw him walking on the water, they were terrified. In their fear, they cried out, “It’s a ghost!”27 But Jesus spoke to them at once. “Don’t be afraid,” he said. “Take courage. I am here! ”28 Then Peter called to him, “Lord, if it’s really you, tell me to come to you, walking on the water.”29 “Yes, come,” Jesus said. So Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus.30 But when he saw the strong wind and the waves, he was terrified and began to sink. “Save me, Lord!” he shouted.31 Jesus immediately reached out and grabbed him. “You have so little faith,” Jesus said. “Why did you doubt me?”32 When they climbed back into the boat, the wind stopped.33 Then the disciples worshiped him. “You really are the Son of God!” they exclaimed. Matt 14:22-33 (NLT)
The disciples had just participated in the miracle of feeding an enormous crowd with a little boys’ lunch. Jesus now defied gravity and physics by walking to their boat in a storm. Peter was always eager to jump ahead but circumstances sometimes distracted him. Fear and doubt interfere with our faith too. In all of our own circumstances we need to keep our eyes on Jesus to withstand the storm or go where He sends us. We can stand strong and courageous knowing the Almighty, Creator and Sustainer of heaven and earth is with us even if we are sinking. Whatever your circumstances today remember all He has done for you already. So keep your eyes on Jesus while holding his arm tightly and He will carry you through.
For nothing is impossible with God. ” Luke 1:37 (NLT)
This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Josh 1:9 (NLT)
References used: Seetheholyland.net Bibleplaces.com Wikipedia