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Tiberias, The Sea of


The Sea of Tiberias is another name of the Sea of Galilee. John used both names in his gospel (6:1). Though it is traditionally known as the sea, it is in fact a freshwater lake. The other names of this lake are Lake of Gennesaret and Lake Kinneret. This lake is around 13 miles (21 kilometers) north-south, 8.1 miles (13 km.) wide, thirty-three miles (53 kilometers) circumference, and 141 feet (43 meters) deep. The Jordan River feeds it from the north and underground springs supplement it. The Jordan river continues from the south of the lake to the Dead Sea. This lake is the lowest freshwater lake on earth and the second lowest lake in the world after the Dead Sea, which is a saltwater lake.

The name Sea of Tiberias came from the name of the City of Tiberias on the western shore of the Sea of Galilee. King Herod Antipas built it around 20 AD. He made it as his capital of Galilee and named in honor of the Roman emperor Tiberius. It was near seventeen natural mineral hot springs. Conservative Jews were reluctant to settle here because of the presence of a cemetery that would make them and priests ritually unclean. So, Antipas settled gentiles here. Later, Jews also inhabited here. Because of the prestigious city of Tiberias, the Sea of Galilee was also known as the Sea of Tiberias. Only John used this name to make the gentiles better understand the location.


When we compare the Sea of Galilee to the Dead Sea, there are significant contrasts. Though the Jordan River feeds both, the Sea of Galilee receives water and gives out it to the South. The Dead Sea receives but does not give the water outside. So, unlike the Dead Sea, the Sea of Galilee is beneficial for vegetations, fishes, and humans. The good-hearted people, while receiving benefits from God and others, also give out to those in need. They enjoy in sharing and benefitting for others. Jesus, who made use of the Sea of Galilee for his preaching and travel, also will dwell among them.


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