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Diving into the Sea of Galilee: A Tourist’s Guide

Sar-El Tours & Conferences

Visit the Sea of Galilee in 2024

The Sea of Galilee is one of the world’s most renowned tourist destinations — and for good reason. This was the place where Jesus walked on water, calmed the storm, and performed many other wonderful acts.

In this article, we’ll explore the beautiful Sea of Galilee, its significance, and modern day attractions.

Sea of Galilee

The Sea of Galilee, sometimes known as Lake Tiberias or Kinneret, is the largest freshwater lake in Israel. It lies within a great depression known as the Jordan Rift and is surrounded by Tiberias, a city replete with lush farmlands and scenic religious sites.

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) describes the Galilee sea as one of the lowest-lying water bodies in the world. The sea receives most of its water through the Jordan River, but inflows from underground springs and other watercourses also come in.

Here’s are the dimensions of the lake:

  • surface elevation: approximately 209 meters below sea level 
  • water surface area: 168 square kilometers
  • perimeter: 55 kilometers
  • maximum depth, measured in the northeast, is 48 meters

The northern shore of the Sea of Galilee was controlled by Syria between 1948 and 1967. However, Israel regained control of the region after the 1967 war. 

What are the Biblical References?

New Testament  

Jesus Christ performed many notable acts along the shores of the Sea of Galilee. Here are some of the main New Testament references:

  • Matthew 4:18: While walking by the Sea of Galilee, [Jesus] saw two brothers, Simon (who is called Peter) and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen.
  • Matthew 14:25: And in the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea.
  • Matthew 15:29: Jesus went on from there and walked beside the Sea of Galilee. And he went up on the mountain and sat down there.
  • Mark 1:16: Passing alongside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew the brother of Simon casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen.
  • John 6:1: After this Jesus went away to the other side of the Sea of Galilee, which is the Sea of Tiberias.
  • John 21:1: After this Jesus revealed himself again to the disciples by the Sea of Tiberias, and he revealed himself in this way. 
  • Other references: Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5), feeding of the multitude (John 6:1-14).

Old Testament 

The Sea of Galilee was sometimes called the “Sea of Chinnereth” in the Old Testament.

  • Numbers 34:11: And the border shall go down from Shepham to Riblah on the east side of Ain. And the border shall go down and reach to the shoulder of the Sea of Chinnereth on the east.
  • 1 Chronicles 6:76: …and out of the tribe of Naphtali: Kedesh in Galilee with its pasturelands, Hammon with its pasturelands, and Kiriathaim with its pasturelands.
  • Isaiah 9:1: But there will be no gloom for her who was in anguish. In the former time he brought into contempt the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the latter time he has made glorious the way of the sea, the land beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the nations.
  • Joshua 20:7: So they set apart Kedesh in Galilee in the hill country of Naphtali, and Shechem in the hill country of Ephraim, and Kiriath-arba (that is, Hebron) in the hill country of Judah.
  • Joshua 21:32: and out of the tribe of Naphtali, Kedesh in Galilee with its pasturelands, the city of refuge for the manslayer, Hammoth-dor with its pasturelands, and Kartan with its pasturelands — three cities.
  • 1 Kings 9:11: … and Hiram king of Tyre had supplied Solomon with cedar and cypress timber and gold, as much as he desired, King Solomon gave to Hiram twenty cities in the land of Galilee.

What is special about the Sea of Galilee? 

Significance for Christians

As shown in the scriptures, the Sea of Galilee was the scene of several famed acts of Jesus Christ. Here, the Messiah discipled Peter and Andrew, walked on water, and calmed the storm.” It was also here that Jesus fed thousands with five loaves and two fish and gave his Sermon on the Mount.

Overall, the region serves as a significant location in Christian teachings and symbolizes faith, miracles, and the presence of Jesus in the lives of believers.

Cultural and economic Significance for the state of Israel

Today, the Sea of Galilee remains a major part of Israel’s drinking water supply.

The country monitors the water level, which increases during the rainy season and the winter, and falls during the hot summer. These changes are reported in the news every year.
Moreover, many Israelis see rainfall as a blessing from God and view the changing Galilee sea levels as an important benchmark for assessing the condition and future outlook of the country. 

Agricultural settlements 

At present, much of the marshy areas around the Galilee sea and to the south have been converted into farmland. The site has been developed through modern irrigation and agric technologies for the cultivation of everything from citrus fruits to vegetables.

Fishing activities are also rife in the area, yielding significant fish harvests every year. Species to be found include catfish, scaleless barbels, and mouth breeders. 

If you're looking to explore the magnificent Sea of Galilee and its legendary shorelines, consider connecting with Sar-El Tours and Conferences. We provide high-quality tour services that guarantee an unforgettable experience.

Tourism and recreational activities

The Sea of Galilee has for years been a top destination for pilgrims and tourists alike. Below are some popular pilgrimage and tourist sites in the area:

Capernaum

Capernaum, also known as the "town of Jesus," is an archaeological beauty on the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee. The town boasts well-preserved ruins, including a synagogue and the remnants of what’s believed to have been the house of Peter. 

Susita

Susita, or Hippos, is an ancient Roman city located on a hill overlooking the Sea of Galilee. The site features well-preserved archaeological remains, including a theater, basilica, and city walls. 

Many tourists throng Susita every year for a glimpse into the Hellenistic and Roman influences in the region.

Migdal

Migdal is an ancient settlement with a rich history. It is situated on the western shore of the Sea of Galilee and is a location of the archaeological remains of a first-century synagogue. 

Mount of Beatitudes

Jesus preached His famous Sermon on the Mount on the Mount of Beatitudes. This site is perched on the hills overlooking the Sea of Galilee and is surrounded by beautiful gardens.  

Tabgha

Tabgha, situated near the Sea of Galilee, is believed to be the area where Jesus fed the multitude. The area now houses many monumental religious setups, including the Church of the Multiplication and the Church of the Primacy of St. Peter.  

Yardenit Baptismal Site

Yardenit is a popular site on the banks of the Jordan River. Pilgrims from various Christian denominations come here to partake in the sacrament of baptism. The serene atmosphere, flowing waters, and lush surroundings make the place especially welcoming. 

Tiberias

The modern city of Tiberias is located on the western shore of the Sea of Galilee. Over here, visitors can explore the Tiberias Hot Springs, visit historical synagogues, and enjoy an ever-lively atmosphere.

What is there to do near the Sea of Galilee?

Visit the hot springs

Visiting the hot springs of Tiberias can be a truly delightful experience. The warm mineral-rich waters provide relaxation and a soothing, therapeutic effect.

Hire a canoe or kayak

Canoe riding and kayaking are popular among visitors to the Galilee lake. You can explore the area's mountains and historical landmarks as you surf the calm waters. Popular canoe and kayaking spots include Tiberias, Ein Gev, and Kibbutz Ma’agan. 

Experience the nearby resorts

Many resorts line the shoreline of the Galilee lake, including Sar-El Tours’ own David's Harp Galilee Resort. Our newly built full-service hotel treats guests to everything from a contemporary waterfront space to a rich menu of local Israeli cuisine.

Visit https://davidsharphotels.com/ for booking.

Other things to do 

There are many other activities to do in the Galilee and Golan regions, such as hiking, horseback riding, camping, jeep tours, and swimming. Speak to our tour agents to learn more.

Other FAQS

Is the Sea of Galilee drying up?

Climate change, population growth and other factors have caused the Sea of Galilee to shrink at times. However, the Israeli government has taken measures to replenish the waters.

Is the Sea of Galilee a lake?

The Sea of Galilee is, in fact, a freshwater lake, known as Lake Tiberias or Lake Kinneret. It's only called a sea because of culture.

Experiencing the Legendary Lake Kinneret

The Sea of Galilee is not only a geographical landmark, but also a symbol of cultural, religious, and economic significance. Whether you're seeking a spiritual tour, historical exploration, or recreational enjoyment, the Sea of Galilee is an ideal place for you. Sar-El Tours' and Conferences can make your visit extra special with our world-class tour services. Reach out to your tour agent and ask them about Sar-El Tours. If you don’t have an agent, contact us today and we will connect you with one.

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