Israel 2014 IFL 159Nearly every site that I have visited in Israel over the four privileged trips that I have enjoyed, my soul relishes in the memory of being on the Sea of Galilee.  It is really not a Sea since it is fresh water.  The name Lake Tiberias is its modern designation.

This body of water is 13 miles long, from North to South.  It is 8 miles wide, from East to West.  This site of many miraculous and spiritually rich events is at times over 700 feet below sea level.  At that depth it is the lowest fresh water lake in the world, second only to the Dead Sea, which is a saltwater lake.

Everyone looks when they get the first glimpse of the Lake.  All of begin to pick out stories that stand out in our minds about the life of the Savior who walked these shores and sailed on these waters.  Jesus taught so many special lessons to His disciples while on a boat during good weather but when the famous storms of the Sea engulfed their sailing vessel.

Our guides directed us to the dock.  There nine boats awaited us.  Some of the boats could carry as many as 200 Israel 2014 IFL 179guests.  Others were limited to 100 guests.

All of the vessels looked like what we imagined ancient ships would have been in Jesus’ day.  The sailors were cheerful friendly and looked like they knew how to embark on a voyage.  In modern Hebrew they shouted out orders and reported lines being cast off.

The engine started and we were off motoring our way out to the middle of the Lake.  In the center of this armada of ships was the largest, the lead boat.  It arrived some where in the middle of the waters and the other boats closed in, tied up and before long we were a single floating flotilla.

Israel 2014 IFL 180There on this historic seascape we had a worship service.  Chuck Swindoll challenged us to consider all of the sorrows in our lives that we have had a difficult time letting go.  It is that episode, that person, that trial or that betrayal from or past.

Each of us had a rock that we had brought on board.  He asked us to pull out that stone.  Then, we were to personalize that weight with our past pain.  He gave us time to pray and then when we were ready we each dropped our rock overboard to be forever at the bottom of this special lake.  My rock lies at the bottom of that Lake and I am glad it is there.

photo credit: brucefong photography