Lake of Gennesaret

Sermon on the Mount Capernaum

Lake of Gennesaret

Lake of Gennesaret

Lake of Gennesaret, Galilee

The Lake of Gennesaret in northern Israel is the largest body of fresh water in Israel and supplies fresh water not only to Israel but also to the neighboring country of Jordan. The Lake of Gennesaret lies about 700 feet below the sea level, making it the world's lowest fresh water lake and the second lowest lake after the Dead Sea.

The Lake of Gennesaret is named after the ancient town of Gennesaret, also called "Ginosar," on its northwestern shore. While it is a lake and not a sea, the Lake of Gennesaret is also called the Sea of Galilee, as well as the Sea of Tiberias, named after the resort city of Tiberias that Herod the Great built on its western shore and named after Caesar Tiberias to endear himself to his Roman overlord.

The Bible says that Lake of Gennesaret is where Jesus walked, preached, calmed the storm, and granted miraculous catches of fish,* and where Peter walked, at least until he took his eyes off Jesus.**

Travel Tip
Only 35 miles in circumference, the Lake of Gennesaret is small enough for a healthy adult to rent a bicycle and pedal around in a day. Local buses are also an option but many of the sites around the Lake of Gennesaret, including Tabgha, Capernaum, Yardenit and the Beatitudes Monastery - the supposed location of Sermon on the Mount - are hard to reach by local buses or bicycle (and there are no bicycle lanes), so those not on a tour bus and/or wishing to visit Nazareth Village may wish to rent a car.

* So it was, as the multitude pressed about Him to hear the word of God, that He stood by the Lake of Gennesaret, and saw two boats standing by the lake; but the fishermen had gone from them and were washing their nets. Then He got into one of the boats, which was Simon’s, and asked him to put out a little from the land. And He sat down and taught the multitudes from the boat. When He had stopped speaking, He said to Simon, “Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.” But Simon answered and said to Him, “Master, we have toiled all night and caught nothing; nevertheless at Your word I will let down the net.” And when they had done this, they caught a great number of fish, and their net was breaking. So they signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink. When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!” For he and all who were with him were astonished at the catch of fish which they had taken; and so also were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid. From now on you will catch men.” So when they had brought their boats to land, they forsook all and followed Him. (Luke 5:1-11)

** Immediately Jesus made His disciples get into the boat and go before Him to the other side, while He sent the multitudes away. And when He had sent the multitudes away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray. Now when evening came, He was alone there. But the boat was now in the middle of the sea, tossed by the waves, for the wind was contrary. Now in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went to them, walking on the sea. And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out for fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.” And Peter answered Him and said, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” So He said, “Come.” And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus. But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, “Lord, save me!” And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. Then those who were in the boat came and worshiped Him, saying, “Truly You are the Son of God.” When they had crossed over, they came to the land of Gennesaret. (Matthew 14:22-34)

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