Sea of Galilee Climate and LifeSeveral hot mineral springs surround the Sea of Galilee. The largest of these springs is located near the ancient capital city of Tiberias, where Herod Antipas once included it in his hot baths. The number of sick people mentioned in the vicinity of the sea (see Matt. 14:35-36) may be due in part to the hot mineral springs and public baths in the area.

When these springs and baths did not provide cures, people sought the Rabbi from Capernaum, who had a reputation for being able to heal. Ten of Jesus’ thirty-three recorded miracles “including a majority of his healing miracles” happened near the lake.

The Sea of Galilee contains fresh water. It is fed primarily by the Jordan River from the north and several wadis on the east that carry rain and melted snow from the Golan Heights.

Just as it does today, the Sea of Galilee teemed with fish in Jesus’ time. There was a prosperous commercial fishing industry in the many small villages and larger towns along its shore. Among these was Bethsaida, which means “house of fishermen.” Jesus’ choice of this location for his ministry, along with his selection of several fishermen as his disciples, made fishing imagery a natural illustration for some of his teachings (Matt. 4:19).

The climate of Galilee is quite tropical, with fertile soil. The most productive areas surround the sea. In Jesus’ time, wheat, barley, figs, grapes, and olives were produced in large quantities. The fertile fields often gave Jesus opportunities to illustrate his teaching (Matt. 12:1; 13:1-43; John 12:24). Jesus’ messages about wealth and earthly treasures were easily understood by the inhabitants of the prosperous lake communities ( Matt. 6:19-21; 16:26; Luke 12:16-21).


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