Yigal Allon Center
1st Century Galilee Boat
What craft sails every day on the high seas of gospel history, but has not been boarded for two thousand years? It is the Galilee Boat, a vessel from the time of Jesus that is the centerpiece of a magnificent museum display on the western shore of the Sea of Galilee.
So many images that Christians are raised on come to mind when looking at this boat: Peter stepping out of a boat to walk on the water (Matthew 14:30) or impulsively jumping out, the faster to reach shore and the resurrected Jesus he saw there (John 21:7); Jesus calming the storm (Luke 8:22-25) or preaching from a boat to the people gathering on shore (Luke 5:3) ; the disciples throwing their net over the other side of the boat and pulling up a miraculous catch of fish (John 21:6).
When fishermen brothers Moshe and Yuvi Lufan discovered the wooden boat in 1985, mired in the mud on the shores of a drought-depleted Sea of Galilee, they could hardly have imagined how magnificent it would look now, proudly restored and on display. For this wooden boat, one of the few authentic objects conclusively dated to the 1st Century, has the power to evoke the life and times of Jesus as never before.
The boat is 27 feet long, 7.5 feet wide, and 4 feet deep. It was built using the “shell first” technique, with mortise and tenon joinery. Cedar and oak make up most of the boat’s planks and frame, but there are also 10 other kinds of woods. Though apparently used for fishing, it may also have transported passengers and goods.
Excerpt, with authors’ permission, from Reflections of God’s Holy Land: a Personal Journey through Israel by Eva Marie Everson and Miriam Feinberg Vamosh (Thomas Nelson, 2008)
The exhibition of the Galilee boat can be seen in the Yigal Allon Center next to kibbutz Ginosar.
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