Sea of Galilee is elsewhere called “the sea of Tiberias” (Joh_21:1; Joh_6:1); “the lake of Gennesaret” (Luk_5:1); “the sea” (Joh_6:16, etc.), and “the lake” (Luk_5:1, etc.). The Old Testament names were “sea of Chinnereth” (ים־כּנּרת, yam kinneretȟ: Num_34:11; Deu_3:17; Jos_13:27; Jos_19:35), and “sea of Chinneroth” (ים־כּנרות, yam-kinerōtȟ: Jos_12:3.
The water of the lake is clear and sweet. Seen from the mountains the lake appears a beautiful blue; so that, in the season of greenery, it is no exaggeration to describe it as “a sapphire in a setting of emerald”. If the waters are still, the shining splendour of the mountain may be seen mirrored in the blue depths. (The mountains on the East and on the West rise to about 2,000 ft. The heights of Naphtali, piled up in the North, seem to culminate in the snowy summit of Great Hermon.) Round the greater part of the lake there is a broad pebbly beach, with a sprinkling of small shells. On the sands along the shore from el-Mejdel to ‛Ain et-Tı̄neh these shells are so numerous as to cause a white glistening in the sunlight.
About 2 miles south of modern Tiberias, there are hot springs. The temperature in the valley is higher than that of the uplands; and here wheat and barley are harvested about a month earlier. The fig trees and grape vines are everywhere. A few palms can be seen around us as we rest from the rigours of Bible Gems. (Ha ha) The wild flowers add a splash colour to the surrounding slopes; while bright-blossoming oleanders fringe the shore. After we have rested we will go along the shore, 5 kms from the Jordan, to the ruins of Tell Ḥūm. About 5 kms farther West are the hot springs of eṭ-Tabgha. Of course we will go there and relax while we talk about John Chapter 6. Later we will visit Tell ‛Areimeh. This tell is crowned by an ancient Canaanite settlement. We will investigate that and then later go to the Roman remains that have been discovered here. We will go down to the south of el-Mejdel to the mountains which will take us to the hot springs of ‛Ain el-Fulı̄yeh and we will eat oranges from the orange groves there.
We will proceed along the road past the base of the mountain to Tiberias. Here the mountains recede from the shore, leaving a crescent-shaped plain, largely covered with the ruins of the ancient city. The modern town stands at the northern corner of the plain; while at the southern end are the famous hot baths, the ancient Hammath. A narrow ribbon of plain between the mountain and the shore runs to the South end of the lake. Alternatively, we could cross the lake to the site of the feeding of the 5000. Perhaps we should pick up 5 loaves and two fish or maybe trust God to provide. What do you think? To the North of this the waters of the sea almost touch the foot of the steep slope. This where the herd of swine would have inevitably perish in the lake (Mat_8:32, etc.). we may be able to get some pork sate. But in all probability we will have cooked fish for dinner caught fresh from the Sea of Galilee. We will go back to Tiberias where we will stay the night and get ready for the next Gem tomorrow.
And where am I getting all this detail from? My vivid imagination? Well partly because my imagination has been sparked by my pastors to make these Bible Gems all they can be. But as Jeffrey so aptly reminded I am “a false prophet” because I have never been to Israel. How do I know so much about it. E-Sword! I got all of the above from E-sword at the click of a button. Want to know how?
Hot Bible study tip: Make sure you use the International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia (ISBE) to research the background to each event you study. You will have to make sure the ISBE is loaded as an E-Sword resource. If it is, simply click on the spot on the Dictionary window that brings up the <<ISBE>>. Now type in the slot the words “Tiberias” or “Galilee” and all the info will be there instantly. (see the screen shot above) Or as Cl!ff has done you can go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sea_of_Galilee. I am delighted that I am stirring people to dig. Keep it up.
Leadership is the art of building people and making them successful.Leroy McGinnis
Mozart was told by Archduke Ferdinand that his opera The Marriage of Figaro was “far too noisy and had far too many notes”.Wolfgang Mozart