Glimpses of Israel - The Sea Of Galilee

by Joseph Hunting

There are two seas in Israel that are of great interest and importance -- the Dead Sea and the Sea of Galilee. The latter is set like a beautiful jewel in northern Israel.

Whilst other much larger fresh-water lakes such as the Great Lakes in North America are becoming more and more polluted, the Sea of Galilee has remained free of pollution although it has been surrounded by civilization for thousands of years. No doubt this is due to the constant flushing of the lake by the snow waters of Mt. Hermon in the north and the outlet in the south by the River Jordan which flows on down to the Dead Sea.

Whilst sections of the Mediterranean coast are in danger of being fished out, the Sea of Galilee is still famous for its St. Peter's fish and other varieties marketed commercially in Israel.

In New Testament times there were more towns dotted round the lake than there are today. Of three mentioned, namely Capernaum, Chorazin and Bethsaida, only the ruins of the synagogues in Capernaum and Chorazin leave any trace of these once-flourishing towns. Nothing marks the site of Bethsaida. Its exact location is still debated.

It is not a mere coincidence that these three cities were upbraided for their rejection of Messiah's ministry in their midst. "Woe unto you Chorazin! Woe unto you Bethsaida! For if the mighty works had been done in Tyre and Sidon, which have been done in you, they had a great while ago repented, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. But it shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the judgment, than for you. And you, Capernaum, which are exalted to heaven, shall be thrust down to hell" (Luke 10:13-15).

From earliest times the Sea of Galilee has also been called Kinneret, so named after the shape of the ancient Hebrew harp known as the Kinnor, which this beautiful inland sea resembles.