The Sea of Galilee is well known to us because it was the scene of many episodes in the life of Our Lord, Jesus Christ.
Among them is His Sermon on the Mount, at which he first gave the blessings of the Beatitudes and first taught the Lord’s Prayer.
The Ancient Boat refers us to The Galilee Boat, also called The Jesus Boat, which is considered one of the most precious and meaningful archaeological treasures in the world.
On a drought-dried shore of the Sea of Galilee in January 1986, two brothers who were fishermen from Ginosar—called Gennesaret in Jesus’ day (Matt. 14:34, Mark 6:53)—spied a mysterious object poking up out of the mud. Twelve days later, an ancient vessel saw the light of day for the first time since it sank nearly 2,000 years ago.
The boat has been dated to the 1st century AD based on pottery and nails found in association with the boat, radiocarbon dating, and hull construction techniques. Evidence of repeated repairs indicates the boat was used for several decades, perhaps nearly a century. When it was considered beyond repair, all useful wooden parts were removed and the remaining hull sunk to the bottom of the lake.
The Galilee Boat is apparently the type of boat that was used on the Sea of Galilee for both fishing and transportation across the lake. It is likely that this sort of boat was used by Jesus and his disciples, many of whom were fishermen. Boats played a large role in Jesus life and ministry — they are mentioned 50 times in the Gospels!
There is no evidence connecting the boat to Jesus or his disciples, but it is certainly tantalizing to think that Jesus may have seen the boat sail by out on the Sea of Galilee — or even used it himself. But regardless of its history, the “Jesus boat” is a fascinating artifact that brings to life many of the Gospel accounts.
After complex restoration, the Galilee Boat now sits above a calm blue-green sea at the Yigal Alon Center at Kibbutz Ginosar. Here visitors learn that this mainly oak-and-cedar craft was patched repeatedly and lovingly with 12 (coincidence or God-incidence) different kinds of wood, and that these very trees still grow along the walk to the museum.
As for the brothers that found the boat, they say, “Our parents taught us to love the Sea of Galilee,” Lufan says, “and I always knew it would give us a gift. And it did—a legacy that brought something special to the whole world.”