Perhaps this is the one place in Israel where Jesus would still recognize the landscape were He to return today. Out on a boat, away from the shore line, it is possible to drift into the first century and forget our modern life altogether. Hotels, waterside, guests houses, restaurants... these all fade into the shoreline haze. And waves -- sometimes calms, sometime brutal -- caress your vessel as you travel the same waters that Jesus traveled.
The Sea of Galilee is Israel's largest freshwater lake. Located in the Great Rift, it is approximately 33 miles in circumference, about 13 miles long and 8 miles wide. It is fed with both underground springs and the Jordan River from the north. It is over 600 feet below sea level and is the lowest freshwater lake on Earth. It is not a sea by normal definition, but the Bible describes it as a "sea." It has other names like Lake Galilee and Lake Tiberias. In the Old Testament, it is also called the Sea of Kinnereth (derived from harp in Hebrew).
The Sea of Galilee was near the strategic Via Maris which linked Egypt with the empires to the north. Flourishing towns were all around the Sea during the time of Christ.
The Sea of Galilee throughout history was known to teem with fish. Josephus described 230 fishing boats working on the sea in his writing
11: And the coast shall go down from Shepham to Riblah, on the east side of Ain; and the border shall descend, and shall reach unto the side of the sea of Chinnereth eastward:
3: And from the plain to the sea of Chinneroth on the east, and unto the sea of the plain, even the salt sea on the east, the way to Beth-jeshimoth; and from the south, under Ashdoth-pisgah:
27: And in the valley, Beth-aram, and Beth-nimrah, and Succoth, and Zaphon, the rest of the kingdom of Sihon king of Heshbon, Jordan and his border, even unto the edge of the sea of Chinnereth on the other side Jordan eastward.
18: And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers.
19: And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.
20: And they straightway left their nets, and followed him.
21: And going on from thence, he saw other two brethren, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in a ship with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and he called them.
22: And they immediately left the ship and their father, and followed him.
23: And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people.
24: And his fame went throughout all Syria: and they brought unto him all sick people that were taken with divers diseases and torments, and those which were possessed with devils, and those which were lunatick, and those that had the palsy; and he healed them.
25: And there followed him great multitudes of people from Galilee, and from Decapolis, and from Jerusalem, and from Judaea, and from beyond Jordan.
23: And when he was entered into a ship, his disciples followed him.
24: And, behold, there arose a great tempest in the sea, insomuch that the ship was covered with the waves: but he was asleep.
25: And his disciples came to him, and awoke him, saying, Lord, save us: we perish.
26: And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm.
27: But the men marvelled, saying, What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him!
16: Now as he walked by the sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew his brother casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers.
17: And Jesus said unto them, Come ye after me, and I will make you to become fishers of men.
18: And straightway they forsook their nets, and followed him.
19: And when he had gone a little further thence, he saw James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, who also were in the ship mending their nets.
20: And straightway he called them: and they left their father Zebedee in the ship with the hired servants, and went after him.
31: And again, departing from the coasts of Tyre and Sidon, he came unto the sea of Galilee, through the midst of the coasts of Decapolis.
32: And they bring unto him one that was deaf, and had an impediment in his speech; and they beseech him to put his hand upon him.
33: And he took him aside from the multitude, and put his fingers into his ears, and he spit, and touched his tongue;
34: And looking up to heaven, he sighed, and saith unto him, Ephphatha, that is, Be opened.
35: And straightway his ears were opened, and the string of his tongue was loosed, and he spake plain.
1: And it came to pass, that, as the people pressed upon him to hear the word of God, he stood by the lake of Gennesaret,
2: And saw two ships standing by the lake: but the fishermen were gone out of them, and were washing their nets.
3: And he entered into one of the ships, which was Simon's, and prayed him that he would thrust out a little from the land. And he sat down, and taught the people out of the ship.
4: Now when he had left speaking, he said unto Simon, Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught.
5: And Simon answering said unto him, Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net.
6: And when they had this done, they inclosed a great multitude of fishes: and their net brake.
7: And they beckoned unto their partners, which were in the other ship, that they should come and help them. And they came, and filled both the ships, so that they began to sink.
8: When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord.
9: For he was astonished, and all that were with him, at the draught of the fishes which they had taken:
10: And so was also James, and John, the sons of Zebedee, which were partners with Simon. And Jesus said unto Simon, Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men.
11: And when they had brought their ships to land, they forsook all, and followed him.
1: After these things Jesus went over the sea of Galilee, which is the sea of Tiberias.
1: After these things Jesus shewed himself again to the disciples at the sea of Tiberias; and on this wise shewed he himself.
2: There were together Simon Peter, and Thomas called Didymus, and Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, and the sons of Zebedee, and two other of his disciples.
3: Simon Peter saith unto them, I go a fishing. They say unto him, We also go with thee. They went forth, and entered into a ship immediately; and that night they caught nothing.
4: But when the morning was now come, Jesus stood on the shore: but the disciples knew not that it was Jesus.
5: Then Jesus saith unto them, Children, have ye any meat? They answered him, No.
6: And he said unto them, Cast the net on the right side of the ship, and ye shall find. They cast therefore, and now they were not able to draw it for the multitude of fishes.
7: Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved saith unto Peter, It is the Lord. Now when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he girt his fisher's coat unto him, (for he was naked,) and did cast himself into the sea.
8: And the other disciples came in a little ship; (for they were not far from land, but as it were two hundred cubits,) dragging the net with fishes.
9: As soon then as they were come to land, they saw a fire of coals there, and fish laid thereon, and bread.
10: Jesus saith unto them, Bring of the fish which ye have now caught.
Sea of Galilee - eyes fixed on Christ (walking on the water)
One of the scripture passages above recounts the time Peter walked on the water. By faith and by keeping his eyes on Christ, Peter walked on water. When he removed his eyes from Christ and considered the peril of his situation, he immediately sank. What a perfect and timeless illustration of faith in Jesus Christ. If the Christian's faith lies elsewhere, it is sure to fail.