After a day of touring across the northwestern portions of Israel, we arrived late in the day at the Sea of Galilee. My first look at the Sea of Galilee took my breath away. I said to myself that I could be at home here. I have studied about and taught about the events surrounding the Sea of Galilee all of my life. In spite of my bookish familiarity with the place, seeing it brought a vast new consciousness of what happened there. The waters of Galilee are clear and beautiful. The fresh water sea is shaped like a harp and surrounded by hillsides that rise quickly like mountain slopes from the shores. At night the hillsides are dotted with lights from the towns and villages that surrounded the lake. The shoreline of the Sea of Galilee is almost 700 feet below sea level. It is the lowest elevation fresh water lake on planet earth. Thirteen miles long and eight miles wide with a circumference of about thirty three miles and 141 feet deep at its deepest point, its size is dwarfed by many of the world’s lakes. It’s magnitude is derived from its uniqueness from every other body of water on earth and from the impact of its most famous resident in history, Jesus of Nazareth. As I gazed on Galilee, and the lush vegetation all around, I thought of the Garden of Eden and of the mythical Shangri-la. There is something mystical about the place that transcends description. Maybe it is because of all that happened here. I felt the nearness of the Lord’s ministry and the tangible reality of his miracles just by being there. Fed by crystal clear springs that rush down from Mount Hermon and spilling over into the Jordan River, Galilee is the lifeline of Israel and the source of vast food production from the North of Israel to the Dead Sea. Where the Sea spills over into the Jordan, the river is crystal clear and you can see the fish swimming as you stand in the waters. The birds sing with delight and the nights are hushed with a reverence that is palpable. It felt like home to me.

Dan Wooldridge

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