Sunday, July 14, 2013
After our visit to Capernaum, we drove back to the Sea of Galilee for lunch and a boat ride. Our first true Israeli meal…felafel and shawarma. I have to say, I think I did pretty well on Israeli cuisine throughout the week, but these weren’t my favorite. They are basically pitas filled with meat and veggies.
Anyways, after lunch we got a quick history lesson about the discovery of “the Jesus boat.” It’s a wooden boat that was discovered buried in the sand in the 1980s by fisherman in the Sea of Galilee during a drought when the waters were significantly lower than usual. Considering the great historical and Biblical significance of Israel, any archeological discoveries get major attention. Obviously, it was most significant to determine the age of the boat. Could it have been a boat that Jesus rode in? Well, based on the construction of the boat (a peg-joint system), it’s shape, and carbon testing of organic materials, it is estimated this boat was used during the Second Temple period (roughly 50 BC-50 AD). It also shows significant repairs were done to the boat over time, meaning it was probably used for several decades. There were also other artifacts discovered in the area around the boat, including an oil lamp and some nails, which help date the boat.
All that to say, it’s definitely a boat that would have been used during Jesus’ time by a fisherman on the Seas of Galilee, but there is no way to prove whether any disciples or Jesus Himself may have ridden in this boat. Either way, it is pretty dang cool!
The boat was extremely delicate. They had to keep it wet as they excavated it to prevent the wood from crumbling. Then, to move it, they had to encase it with fiberglass to maintain it’s form, and then removed that once they got it to the museum for further preservation.
After our little history lesson, we went out on our own boat onto the Sea of Galilee. It was so peaceful out there. Our boat captain played Christian music during our ride and we just sat and soaked up the beauty around us. The waters were so calm. One of the guys on the boat even had some fishing nets that we cast out. Of course we had no luck. Daytime isn’t the best time for fishing.
Jesus spent a lot of time on the Sea of Galilee. Most of the disciples were fisherman, so they lived in towns close to the seas. Jesus walked on the waters of the Sea of Galilee and called Simon Peter to walk on the waters (Matthew 14). It is also the lowest (freshwater) sea on the Earth (nearly 700 feet below sea level).