The Sea of Galilee has many names. In his Gospel, John refers to it as the Sea of Tiberias, and it is also called Gennesaret or in Hebrew, Kinneret. This name is derived from the Hebrew word “kinnor” meaning harp, and relates to the Sea being shaped like a Biblical lyre.
Set within the northern part of the Syrian-African Rift Valley this body of water, although called a sea, is actually a freshwater inland lake. Eight miles wide and thirteen miles long, it is fed by the Jordan River that runs in from the north. Fish have been caught here since the dawn of time, and most of the villages along the shores drew their livelihoods from this occupation. It is no wonder that the men Jesus chose as his disciples were fishermen, or that fishing references appear in many of the parables through which he taught.
One such example comes from Matthew 13:47-48, “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a net, that was cast into the sea, and gathered of every kind: Which when it was full they drew to shore, and sat down, and gathered the good into vessels, but cast the bad away” .This parable carries in it he understanding of Jewish dietary laws, that permits only fish with scales and fins to be eaten. Therefore, after the catch fishermen would have separated the permitted fish, which they kept, from the forbidden fish that they returned to the water.
A local legend tells to the dark smudge that appears on one kind of fish in the lake’s waters. It is said to come from the thumb mark of the Apostle Peter, when he took a coin from a fish’s mouth to pay the temple tax, Matthew 17:27. It is called St. Peter’s fish, and is one of the area’s culinary delights.
This page is part of the book The Holy Land of JesusShare this page with your friends
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