Sea Catfish

Sea Catfish

Sea Catfish

Sea Catfish

The Sea of Galilee is located in north-east area of Israel, in the Jordan Rift Valley, and fed by the Jordan River. It is also known as the Lake of Gennesaret, Sea of Chinneroth, Lake Kineret and Sea of Tiberias. Technically, it is a lake rather than a sea. However, at seven miles wide and thirteen miles long, it is no wonder that many people gave it the name of sea, rather than lake.

The Sea of Galilee would have been a very democratic place around the time that Jesus lived. It was part of the old Via Maris, which connected Egypt to other countries in the north. Surrounding towns included Bethsaida, Magdala, Tiberias and Capernaum. There were many settlements around the lake, and lots of people living around its shores. Many roads also led to the area and there would have been many people passing through. While there were no natural harbors, the people living there built their own harbors. Fifteen of these have been discovered by archaeologists and it is likely there were many more. The construction of so many man-made harbors shows how important the lake was to the area. The Capernaum harbor was 800 meters along the shore.

Sea Catfish

Sea Catfish

Sea Catfish

There was also a thriving sportfishing business. Josephus (a Jewish writer who wrote about the Jews and their history shortly after Jesus lived) reported about 230 sportfishing boats working on the lake. In 1986, one of these fishing boats was found by archaeologists, who called it the Jesus boat. Fish was a major source of sustenance for people living around the area. There are 35 species of fish found in the Sea of Galilee. But the three main types mentioned in the New Testament ar sardines, the musht fish (now commonly called St Peter’s fish) and the catfish.

Much of Jesus’ ministry was held around the Sea of Galilee. It is hera that he recruited four of his apostles. Simon Peter, Andrew, John and James were some of the many fisherman working on the Sea of Galilee at that time. They were working their trade when Jesus came up to them and turned them into ‘fishers of men’.

Sea Catfish

Sea Catfish

Sea Catfish

Some of the well-known miracles performed by Jesus also occurred near the Sea of Galilee. This includes the calming of the storm, where Jesus was asleep in a boat when a storm came up, frightening the disciples. Jesus awoke and calmed the ocean with a word. Such storms are common on the Sea of Galilee, where the warm air from the mountains collides with the cool air on the lake. They are often very large storms which can be life-threatening for anyone on the lake’s waters.

Another miracle that occurred on the Sea of Galilee was Jesus walking on water. The alimentation of the multitudes with the loaves and fishes (probably two of the sardines from the Sea of Galilee) also is thought to have happened in the area.

Sea Catfish

Sea Catfish

Sea Catfish

The Sea of Galilee’s grandness as a commercial hub may not be as great as it once was, but it has achieved a new importance as a pilgrimage site for Christians. Many Christians (and other visitors interested in the history of the lake) flock to the Sea of Galilee to experience first-hand the places that ar so often mentioned in the New Testament.