Of all the bodies of water known by Believers, the Sea of Galilee is perhaps one of the most commonly recognized…
Certainly, the biblical connection to our Messiah is one of the reasons why, but from Old Testament times to the time of Jesus, and even today, the Sea of Galilee has played an important spiritual role.
Join us as we discover what the Sea of Galilee was like during biblical times, what it is like today, and why it plays an important spiritual role!
The Sea of Galilee
In the New King James Version of God’s Word, water is mentioned 634 times! While not all of these are referencing physical waters—some being ‘Living Water,’ ‘troubled waters,’ etc.—it is a physical body of water that we will focus on today…
The place where many of Yeshua’s disciples were recruited, where He calmed the storm, and walked upon the waters. The Sea of Galilee!
The Sea of Galilee, or Galilee—referenced in Israel and elsewhere as Yam Kinneret, but rarely as the Lake of Tiberius—is, in natural terms, a lake of decent size nestled in the midst of land that, without the Sea of Galilee, would be dry and desert-like in nature.
In terms of size, the Sea of Galilee covers an area of approximately 64 square miles—13 miles long and 7 to 8 miles wide—and at its deepest is well under 200 feet. Yet, within that relatively small space, is a body of water teeming with life; maintaining over a dozen species of fish. However, perhaps most surprising of all is the fact that the Sea of Galilee is close to 700 feet below sea level—making it the lowest body of freshwater in the world!
But how does this famous body of water flourish even though surrounded by dry land? Even though it is not overly large?
The main source of water for the Sea of Galilee comes from the Jordan River, and it is through this and God’s blessing of rain that the Galilee is fed and maintained. Though interestingly, the Jordan River also flows into the Dead Sea—a body of salt water with virtually no life at the lowest point in the world.
“…after John was put in prison, Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God,”—Mark 1:14
Now that we know some of the basic facts about the Sea of Galilee today, it is time to consider why the Galilee is so important in Scripture…
The Galilee in Scripture
The Sea of Galilee and region of the Galilee are mentioned in the Word 73 times by name; of those, 82 percent are found in the New Testament and largely revolve around Jesus’ life. Yet, the importance of the Galilee in both the Old and New Testaments largely remain the same.
Many Gentile believers view the Galilee as being strictly ‘theirs.’ After all, it is written in Isaiah 9:1 and quoted in Matthew 4:15, “…in Galilee of the Gentiles.” However, the Galilee area was, and is, part of the Promised Land of the Jewish people; a part of the irrevocable inheritance of our brothers and sisters, the Jews! This is not to say that Gentiles have no connection with the land. For Gentiles, having been grafted-in, are allowed to enter in to many of the Lord’s promises… and indeed, are meant to be a part of the restoration of Israel according to the Lord’s prophets.
Isaiah prophesied—as did many prophets—of a time when Jew and Gentile would come together; of a time when the waters of the Galilee, along with all the Promised Land, might be important to both. When Jesus, our Messiah, would prepare the way for the two to become one, sharing in the promises of God and restoring the land of Israel…
“…in Galilee of the Gentiles.
The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light…”
“For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given;—Isaiah 9:1-2, 6-7
and the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end,
upon the throne of David and over His kingdom,
to order it and establish it with judgment and justice
from that time forward, even forever…”
In the New Testament, the Galilee and Sea of Galilee are often connected to the life of Jesus. In fact, our Messiah was nearly a Galilean in His youth before spending many months teaching in the Galilee as an adult. It was only by the prompting of God to His earthly ‘father,’ Joseph, that caused Jesus to grow up as a Nazarene instead of a Galilean—to save His life and to fulfill the Word of the prophets (see Matthew 2).
After Jesus was grown and preparing to enter into teaching, He traveled from the Galilee to where John the Baptist—Yochanan the Immerser—was immersing people in the Jordan River. It was there, in the waters between the Galilee and Dead Sea that He was immersed by John (see Matthew 3).
Yet, after this, Jesus returned to the Galilee to fulfill prophecy and call the first of His disciples—Simon-Peter, Andrew, James (son of Zebedee), and John.
“Then He said to them, ‘Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.’”—Matthew 4:19
This was an important step in Yeshua’s ministry, however, gathering disciples was not all Jesus did within the region of the Galilee. He preached, taught, healed, calmed the waves, walked upon the water, and did a great many miracles—such as the multiplication of loaves and fish.
However, Jesus’ life before the cross was not the summation of His relationship with us, His disciples, or the Galilee. For our Messiah returned to us on earth, to His disciples, and to the Galilee before returning to Heaven… and it was during that time at the Galilee that He brought His disciples back into the fold, preparing them for their commission and the coming of the Holy Spirit.
“Then Jesus said to them, ‘All of you will be made to stumble because of Me this night, for it is written: “I will strike the Shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.” But after I have been raised, I will go before you to Galilee.’”—Matthew 26:31-32
“…go quickly and tell His disciples that He is risen from the dead, and indeed He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him. Behold, I have told you.”—Matthew 28:7
Yeshua’s life, death, and resurrection was for the restoration of us to Himself, and of the gifts we had given away in the Garden.
Jesus also gave us His Holy Spirit as a guide, but further still, He gave us LIVING WATER… which is why from birth to death, and even on to the days after His resurrection, Jesus showed us a spiritual importance through a physical thing: water. Through the water of His birth, the water of His immersion, the water of the Sea of Galilee, and even the water that poured from His side when pierced.
Yeshua was and is the embodiment of the Living Water of God!
How Do We Connect with the Places Jesus Walked?
Today, Israel is a nation once more, flourishing even in the desert. And the places where Jesus walked? Well, they are protected by Israel; by our Jewish brothers and sisters. Yet, not everyone has the opportunity to travel to Israel, let alone visit every location mentioned in the Word and testimonies of Jesus… but there are ways we can still come to know the land.
- Study God’s Word
- Examine Pictures
- Research the Land
- Watch Videos
- Explore the History
- Give Back to the Land
While these are only a few ways we can come to know the places Jesus traversed, they all allow a unique connection to the land.
At Curt Landry Ministries we are connected directly to the land of Israel. From the fertile city of Jerusalem all the way to the desert lands, we are, through the support of our Covenant Partners and sponsors, giving to Holocaust survivors, human trafficking victims, IDF soldiers, orphans, and others… even planting olive trees in the Holy Land, bringing life to where Yeshua walked and shall reign.
With the support of people like YOU we are not only preparing the land for the return of Messiah; we are bringing jobs and beauty for generations to come as a living testimony. We are fulfilling biblical prophecy… causing the land and people to bloom.
“‘Behold, the days are coming,’ says the Lord,—Amos 9:13-15
‘When the plowman shall overtake the reaper,
and the treader of grapes him who sows seed;
the mountains shall drip with sweet wine,
and all the hills shall flow with it.
I will bring back the captives of My people Israel;
they shall build the waste cities and inhabit them;
they shall plant vineyards and drink wine from them;
they shall also make gardens and eat fruit from them.
I will plant them in their land,
and no longer shall they be pulled up
from the land I have given them,’
says the Lord your God.”