This article will give information on the various facts and figures about the historically famous Sea of Galilee and will also touch upon its history and origin. The Sea of Galilee is also known as the Lake Tiberias or the Kinneret Lake of Gennesaret. It is located in northern part of Israel with a close proximity to Golan Heights, and derives its main water supply from the Jordan River besides getting fed from the numerous underground springs surrounding it. It has a length of 13 miles, a width of 8 miles, a depth of 141 feet, an area of 64 square miles and a circumference of 33 miles which all culminate together to make this Sea of Galilee as the largest lake of Israel having freshwater.
The Sea of Galilee is also of prime geographical interest as it is located in the Great Rift Valley which was caused by segregation of the Arabian and African plates. Also, this area is covered with igneous rocks and is constantly subjected to volcanoes eruptions and earthquake shocks. In Hebrew Bible, this lake is also known as the Sea of Chinnereth while in the New Testament, it is known as the Sea of Tiberias or simply as the Sea of Galilee. There are also many other various names for this lake in different scriptures which originate from the lake’s geology or the areas that surround it.
Much of the work of Jesus was on the shores of Sea of Galilee. At the time, there was a continuous development of Villages around the lake and trade and ferrying by boat. The Synoptic gospels of Mark, Matthew and Luke describes Jesus recruiting 4 of his apostles from the shores: the fishermen Simon, his brother Andrew,brother John and James. (his disciples were are those who caught the boatload of fish). One of Jesus’ famous teaching episodes, the Sermon on the Mount, is supposed to have been given on a hill overlooking the lake. Many of his miracles are also said to have occurred at the Sea of Galilee
– walking on water
– calming the storm
– feeding five thousand people (Tabgha).
During the reign of Byzantine Empire, the Sea of Galilee gradually gained significance with respect to Jesus Christ’s life and due to this; it became a major pilgrimage site for the entire Christian communities. This also led to the flourishing of the tourist industry which brought quite handsome revenue for the people of this area. But this significance of the Sea of Galilee ebbed away when Byzantine Empire disintegrated and was taken over by the Islamic empire of the Umayyad Caliphate.
Even in this modern world, the place has quite a significant importance attached with it and it continues to attract many local as well as foreign tourists from all around the world. It is also a very famous holiday destination because of so many spiritual sites present in the area. Hence, tourism is the main source of meeting the economic needs of the local people of this area. Apart from this, fishing and agriculture are also the major economic activities from which local people derive their sustenance and living.