Sea of Galilee
The Sea of Galilee is Israel’s largest freshwater lake and the lowest freshwater lake on Earth, lying 700 feet below sea level. It measures slightly more than 13 miles north to south, is about eight miles at its widest point from east to west, and is 33 miles around. Its maximum depth is approximately 140 feet, and it is fed by underground streams and the Jordan River.
Also called the Sea of Tiberias, Lake Kinneret, and Lake of Gennesaret, the Sea of Galilee was once Israel’s main source of drinking water, making its water level of utmost concern. Today, however, much of the country’s potable water comes from desalinated seawater.
To Christians, the Sea of Galilee is particularly special because of what happened there 2,000 years ago. The apostle Simon Peter had finished a long day ministering to thousands of people. Jesus commanded His disciples to get into a boat and go ahead of Him to the other side, while He went to a nearby mountain to pray.
The hills surrounding the Sea of Galilee can form a wind tunnel that churns up the water in the evening, making it difficult to see what lurks below the surface, which is probably why 1st-century fishermen called the Kinneret “the abyss.”
When Peter’s boat was in the middle of the water, turbulent evening winds began tossing it around. Hours passed, and the men were getting nowhere. Suddenly, they saw Jesus walking to them on the water. Thinking He was a ghost from the abyss, they began crying out in terror. Immediately, Jesus called, “Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid” (Mt. 14:27).
Peter replied, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water” (v. 28), to which Jesus said, “Come” (v. 29).
Peter got out of the boat and began walking to Jesus on the water. But when he saw the strong wind, he was afraid, began to sink, and cried out, “Lord, save me!” (v. 30).
Immediately, Jesus reached out His hand and caught him. Then He said, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” (v. 31).
When they got into the boat, the wind ceased. Then those in the boat worshiped Him, saying, “Truly You are the Son of God” (v. 33).
Today, Jesus still reaches out His hand, ready to catch people from falling into Satan’s abyss. He is always ready to save us when we acknowledge that, truly, He is the Son of God and we ask Him for His free gift of salvation.
Photo: Adobe Stock