Early one morning we took a trip on a so-called Jesus Boat, accross the Lake of Galilee, from Tiberias to Caphernaum. A number of these boats ply the waters of the Galilee, catching tourists or providing a venue for a good party. On board the boat, the skipper took out our South African licorice all-sorts flag and it was hoisted with some ceremony and singing Nkosi Sikilele (our national anthem). The high hills surrounding the below sea-level water combined with abrupt temperature changes contributes to sudden and violent storms on the lake.
These excursions bear the same name as the Jesus Boat (Galilee Boat) that were found by brothers Moshe and Yuval Lufan, fishermen from Kibbutz Ginnosar on the shores of the Lake of Galilee. The boat was positively dated to the First Century BC, (or somewhere between 50 BC and 50 AD). Pilgrims from around the world flocked to view the boat on which could have been the very same vessel on which Jesus sailed the Sea of Galilee. The vessel is 9 meters long, 2.5 meters wide and 1.25 meters high. It may have functioned as a ferry boat, but its measurements also suit those used by ancient fishermen employing a seine, or dragnet, "cast into the sea".
There is no link between the excursions and the Ginnosar discovery. The boats look different as well. The picture at the bottom shows what the excursion boats look like.
The pilgrims coming to see a boat that maybe, just very maybe, have been used by Jesus, brings me to a comment. Israel abound with places where something happened to Jesus, or where He did something. So, church denominations from anywhere in the world rush to build a church or monastry on or over the place. The upside is that the site is well looked after and the downside is that the place becomes commercialised. Sometimes they also have their GPS coordinates plumb wrong - more about that, in some future post.
Have a great weekend.