The Sea of Galilee Boat or commonly known as the "Jesus Boat" was an ancient
fishing boat discovered in 1986 on the north-west shore of the Sea of
Galilee in Israel. It was a remarkably well preserved boat dating from the
1st century CE. Carbon and pottery dating placed it to be between 50 BCE to
50 CE. Its significance is that this boat may be representative of what
Jesus and his disciples, many of whom are fishermen, are familiar with.
There is no evidence linking Jesus to this boat even though it is called the
Excavating the boat from the mud without damaging it, quickly enough to
extract it before the water rose again, was a difficult process which lasted
12 days and nights. The boat was then submerged in a chemical bath for 7
years before it could be displayed at the
Museum in Kibbutz Ginosar. (Wiki)
The remains of the boat, 27 feet (8.27 meters) long, 7.5 feet (2.3
meters) wide and with a maximum preserved height of 4.3 feet (1.3
meters), first appeared during a drought, when the waters of the Sea of
Galilee which was actually a great fresh-water lake receded. It is made
of cedar planks.
|replica of the
More about the discovery of this boat
|The Storm on
the Sea of Galilee by Rembrandt
The Sea of Galilee is actually a lake which is surrounded by high
mountains. The Sea is at 680 feet below sea level while the surrounding
mountains may reach 2000 feet high. The air at the height is cool and
dry while the air at the Sea level is hot and moist. There is a huge
drop in temperature and humidity. The difference result in strong winds
that cause sudden deadly storms on the Sea. A small boat such as the one
above will be in great danger. Mark described one such episode:
MK 4:35 That
day when evening came, he said to his disciples, "Let us go over to the
other side." 36 Leaving
the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat.
There were also other boats with him.
37 A furious squall
came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly
swamped. 38 Jesus
was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said
to him, "Teacher, don't you care if we drown?"
Jesus, tired after teaching, was fast asleep. The disciples and other
travelers did not expect a storm or otherwise they would not have
started out to cross the Sea. It is interesting to note that the storm
(squall) caught the disciples by surprise (many of whom are seasoned
fishermen) and that these seasoned fishermen are afraid! Obvious this is
not a minor storm.
I was rereading Max Ehrmann’s (1872–1945) 1927 poem Desiderata
(Latin: "desired things"). A dear friend highlighted this section of the
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do
not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of
fatigue and loneliness.
This section reminds me of the boat incident above. Storms of life
always hit us when we are exhausted and depressed. This seems to be a
fact of life. Not matter how much security we built into our lives (huge
bank accounts, property assets, academic and professional degrees,
children, gated communities, bullet proofed cars etc) I believe we all
know consciously or subconsciously that we are on a tiny sinkable boat
on the sea. Any storm can come along and sink the boat. No boat is
unsinkable, even the Titanic.
How do we nurture strength of spirit? Not from the ‘security’ things
mentioned above. These things sink very quickly! The strength of spirit
comes only by interactions with the only person who is not worried in
the same boat. Imagine being able to sleep through a storm! Mark
MK 4:39 He got
up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, "Quiet! Be still!" Then the
wind died down and it was completely calm.
MK 4:40 He said
to his disciples, "Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?"
Strength of spirit or faith can only be developed by knowing God. It is
developed by time spent reading and meditating on the Word of God, hours
in prayers, awareness of God’s presence in all things and his
sovereignty, and putting our lives completely in his hands. The result?
You can sleep through a storm because you know the boat you are in is in
God’s hands, and you know who this God is.