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Mediterranean Sea

The Sea of Galilee

The Sea of Galilee


For many years, I read the words "Sea of Galilee" without thinking about it very much. It was just a name of a body of water. That changed when I finally saw this "sea". In reality, it is not a sea at all (at least the way that we think about it). It is really just a small lake. For instance, "Lake" Okeechobee in Florida is about 730 square miles in size. The "Sea" of Galilee is only 64 square miles in size. The Sea of Galilee is less than 10% of the size of Lake Okeechobee, yet one is called a sea and the other is called a lake.

So, why is it called a sea? To answer this question, you need to think about the body of water in antiquity and consider other bodies of water in the area. The other two main bodies of water in this area are the Mediterranean Sea and the Dead Sea.

In the Bible, the Mediterranean Sea is called "the great sea" (Numbers 34:6-7, Joshua 1:4, Joshua 9:1, Joshua 23:4, Ezekiel 47:10, Ezekiel 48:28, etc). The Dead Sea is called by a variety of names in the Bible. It is called the Salt Sea (Genesis 14:3, Numbers 34:3, Joshua 3:16, etc), the Sea of Arabah (Deuteronomy 3:17, Joshua 12:3, etc), and the Eastern Sea (Zechariah 14:8).

Incidentally, the Sea of Galilee is also known by a few names. It is called the Sea of Tiberias (John 6:1, 21:1) and the Lake of Gennesaret (Luke 5:1).

Did you notice anything interesting about all of these names? They are not necessarily names as they are descriptions. Think about the names again. The Salt Sea. The Great Sea. Do you see it? They are really descriptions of the bodies of water.

With that in mind look back at the name "Sea of Galilee". The Galilee is an area of land in northern Israel punctuated by wide flat valleys and numerous hills and mountains. Over any given year, it receives a lot of rain and the rich soil is very good for agriculture. There is also a body of water in the Galilee. This body of water is about 8 miles wide and 12 miles long and is the largest body of water within the Galilee. During Biblical times, the people described this body of water as a sea. It is the "sea" in Galilee, or the Sea of Galilee.

This helps explain why this relatively small lake is called a sea. Think about it.

One Year Ago - Mediterranean Sea

IMG_0182NOTE: I am continuing my series of retrospective posts on the our tour from one year ago. I invite you to start at the beginning and read through all of them. Typically, flights from the United States to Israel land in the mid-to-late afternoon. From a traveler's perspective, this is a very good thing. Upon landing, you usually have a rush of adrenaline because you are in a new place with so many fantastic things to see. This adrenaline rush usually lasts a few hours, which is enough time to land, go through Passport Control, grab your bags, drive out to the hotel and eat dinner before crashing in bed.

Our first night stay was in the beautiful coastal city of Netanya. Our hotel overlooked the Mediterranean Sea. That evening, there was a warm wind blowing in which made the air feel much warmer than it really was.

Upon waking the next morning, I saw about 5-6 of our group already up and walking along the coast. It typically takes a day or so for your body to adjust to the timezone change. These folks woke up early and instead of staying in bed, decided to take advantage of walking along the coast at sunrise. A wonderful way to start your day.

Tomorrow: Across the entire country, from sea to sea.

2015 Israel Poster B

Have you been enjoying these posts on last year's tour? Are you interested in traveling with me this year? Then, I would love to have you join me. Our 12-day tour is scheduled for October 12-23. We will stay one night on the Mediterranean Sea, three nights on the shores of the Sea of Galilee and five nights in beautiful Jerusalem. During the day, we will visit dozens of sites that will enhance your understanding of the land and of the Biblical stories that take place in them. Reservations are coming in, but we still have some availability! This is a first-class tour with many extras thrown in that many Israel tours overlook. If you are interested, I encourage you to read the itinerary and contact me personally for more details.

2015 New Year Resolution

DSCN0042 Jonah was given an opportunity to do something for God. He was tasked with preaching to the people of Ninevah. He refused, ran the opposite way and boarded a ship to Tarshish.

Paul was also given an opportunity to do something for God. He was tasked with preaching to different cities in Asia Minor and points east. Paul accepted this responsibility and boarded a ship in Caesarea to fulfill his mission.

The attached picture is of a sunset over the Mediterranean Sea. No doubt, both Jonah and Paul saw a similar scene as they set out on their journeys. Jonah's journey ended in personal embarrassment and God's disappointment. Paul's journey ended in God's message being spread across the entire region.

As you begin 2015, resolve to accept God's requests of you without question. You can not predict the opportunities that God will present to you this year. Just accept them. Good will come from them.

You can also read 2013's and 2014's New Year's Resolutions.