The Sea of Galilee, also Kinneret, Lake of Gennesaret, or Lake Tiberias, is the largest freshwater lake in Israel, and it is approximately 53 km (33 mi) in circumference, about 21 km (13 mi) long, and 13 km (8.1 mi) wide. The lake has a total area of 166 km2 (64 sq mi), and a maximum depth of approximately 43 m (141 feet). At 211.315 metres (693.29 ft) below sea level, it is the lowest freshwater lake on Earth and the second-lowest lake overall (after the Dead Sea, a saltwater lake). The lake is fed partly by underground springs although its main source is the Jordan River which flows through it from north to south.The picture shows a boat from the first century C.E. found on the lake.Commonly called Jesus Boat in Kibbutz Ginossar. Photo by Itamar Grinberg.

Jesus Boat Museum

In 1986 an incredible discovery was made in Kibbutz Ginosar in the Galilee, Israel, on the northwestern shore of the Sea of Galilee. An ancient boat was revealed when the Sea of Galilee reached an all time low due to a drought. The boat was rescued and tested by several independent scientific tests to verify its age. It was found to be almost 2,000 years old dating back to the 1st century AD and in bad condition having been covered by water for an extended time. The boat underwent an extensive recovery period including the 12 days it took to extract it from the water and a seven year submersion in a chemical liquid solution. Today it is housed in the Yigal Allon Museum often referred to as the Jesus Boat Museum and the boat itself has been named the Jesus Boat or Sea of Galilee Boat or the Galilee Fishing Boat.

The Jesus Boat Museum is within the Yigal Allon Center on Kibbutz Ginosar. The boat is 8.2 meters long, 2.3 meters wide and 1.25 meters high. It was constructed using several kinds of wood. The function of the boat is in question but it is thought to have been used as a ferry at some point, a fishing boat and perhaps later as a military vessel. It is thought that the boat could have held up to 15 people.

What you can see at the Jesus Boat Museum

During the rescue of the Jesus boat several other ancient artifact were discovered and they too are on display here. You can see a cooking pot, potshards, nails, hooks an oil lamp and several arrow heads. Also on display are photographs and video footage of the discovery and rescue process which took place when the boat was found alone with data concerning the accurate dating of the ancient boat.

Biblical references

Stories of the Sea of Galilee and Jesus’ visits here are numerous, in Mathew 14:13 it says ” …Jesus…departed thence by ship into a deserted place apart.” In Mark 4:35-41 and Luke 8:22-25 the miracle of the storm is told. “And when he was entered into a ship his disciples followed him.” There is also the story of Jesus walking on water in the Sea of Galilee and the many occasions when he spent time with the local fishermen. In all the boats on the Sea of Galilee are mentioned fifty times in the bible.

The Jesus boat is one of the top ten biblical archaeological finds in the world and a unique connection with the time when Jesus walked the shores of the Sea of Galilee. Who knows he may have even set foot in this boat.

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