Sea of Galilee in Wikipedia
The Sea of Galilee, also Kinneret, Lake of Gennesaret, Lake Tiberias (Hebrew: ים כנרת, Arabic: بحيرة طبرية), is the largest
freshwater lake in Israel, and it is approximately 53 km (33 miles) in circumference, about 21 km (13 miles) long, and 13 km (8
miles) wide. The lake has a total area of 166 km², and a maximum depth of approximately 43 m (141 feet). At 209 metres below sea
level, it is the lowest freshwater lake on Earth and the second-lowest lake in the world (after the Dead Sea, a saltwater lake).
The lake is fed partly by underground springs although its main source is the Jordan River which flows through it from north to
The Kinneret is situated in Northern Israel, near the Golan Heights, and deep in the Jordan Great Rift Valley, the valley caused by
the separation of the African and Arabian Plates. Consequently the area is subject to earthquakes and, in the past, volcanic
activity. This is evident by the abundant basalt and other igneous rocks that define the geology of the Galilee region.
The lake often appears on maps and in the New Testament as Sea of Galilee or Sea of Tiberias (John 6:1 ) while in the Hebrew Bible,
it is called the "Sea of Chinnereth" (or spelled as "Kinnereth") (Numbers 34:11 ; Joshua 13:27 ).
The name may originate from the Hebrew word kinnor ("harp" or "lyre")) in view of the shape of the lake. Christian religious texts
call it Lake of Gennesaret (Luke 5:1 ) or Sea of Gennesaret after a small fertile plain that lies on its western side. The Arabic
name for the lake is Buhairet Tabariyya (help·info) (بحيرة طبريا) meaning Lake Tiberias. Other names for the Sea of Galilee are
Ginnosar, Lake of Gennesar, Sea of Chinneroth and Sea of Tiberias (Roman).
The Sea of Galilee lies on the ancient Via Maris, which linked Egypt with the northern empires. The Greeks, Hasmoneans, and Romans
founded flourishing towns and settlements on the land-locked lake including Gadara, Hippos and Tiberias. The first-century historian
Flavius Josephus was so impressed by the area that he wrote, "One may call this place the ambition of Nature." Josephus also reported
a thriving fishing industry at this time, with 230 boats regularly working in the lake.
Much of the ministry of Jesus occurred on the shores of Lake Galilee. In those days, there was a continuous ribbon development of
settlements and villages around the lake and plenty of trade and ferrying by boat. The Synoptic gospels of Mark (1:14-20), Matthew
(4:18-22), and Luke (5:1-11) describe how Jesus recruited four of his apostles from the shores of Lake Galilee: the fishermen Simon
and his brother Andrew and the brothers John and James. His disciples were the ones who caught the boatload of fish. One of Jesus'
famous teaching episodes, the Sermon on the Mount, is supposed to have been given on a hill overlooking the lake. Many of his
miracles are also said to have occurred here including his walking on water, calming the storm, and his feeding five thousand people
In 135 CE the second Jewish revolt against the Romans was put down. The Romans responded by banning all Jews from Jerusalem. The
center of Jewish culture and learning shifted to the region of the Kinneret, particularly the city of Tiberias. It was in this region
that the so-called "Jerusalem Talmud" is thought to have been compiled.
In the time of the Byzantine Empire, the lake's significance in Jesus' life made it a major destination for Christian pilgrims. This
led to the growth of a full-fledged tourist industry, complete with package tours and plenty of comfortable inns.
The lake's importance declined when the Byzantines lost control and area came under the control of the Umayyad Caliphate and
subsequent Islamic empires. Apart from Tiberias, the major towns and cities in the area were gradually abandoned.
The palace Khirbat al-Minya was built by the lake during the reign of the Umayyad caliph al-Walid I (705-715 CE). In 1187, Saladin
defeated the armies of the Crusades at the Battle of Hattin, largely because he was able to cut the Crusaders off from the valuable
fresh water of the Sea of Galilee...