The Sea of Galilee (Naftali Hilger)
Psalm 23:2 of the Bible states, “He maketh me lie down in green pastures; he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul . . .
In Testaments of Israel, this passage is paired with an image of the Sea of Galilee in modern times. It speaks to the many similarities between the world as it was in biblical times and as it is now. Indeed, both the Sea of Galilee and this passage hold significance for countless individuals across the globe. Here, we take a closer look at Psalm 23:2 and explore the Sea of Galilee a bit deeper.
The Meaning of Psalm 23:2
As with any Bible verse, Psalm 23:2 may hold different meanings for different audiences. Popular interpretations of the passage suggest that David meant that God shepherds us, and gives what we need to survive. In the Judean Hills, much of the land is sparse, marked by sand and dirt. Yet, upon closer look, you may find sprigs of grass—enough for a shepherd to lead his sheep to sustenance. Likewise, God leads us to pastures to rest as well. He doesn’t “force” us to lie down; rather, He offers peace for those who search for it.
Similarly, the shepherd would take his sheep to still waters where they could drink. They might be scared off by rolling rapids, but at a trickling stream or body of calm waters, both the sheep and shepherd can slow down. It creates an opportunity to immerse oneself in God’s peace and love. While opportunities to truly step back, and be still, are rare in today’s fast-paced world, it’s then that we may be most likely to connect with God.
The Sea of Galilee
Like the calm waters envisioned by David in Psalm 23, the Sea of Galilee certainly has its calm days. Yet, it can also be home to rough waters, with the highest whitecaps on record having reached ten feet in the early 1990s.
The Sea of Galilee goes by many names; it’s often referred to as Lake Tiberias, for the city on the lake’s western shore which is the only city to have survived since ancient times. In the Old Testament, it is referred to as Yam Kinneret. The Sea of Galilee’s Northern shore was the location of Jesus’s Sermon on the Mount, during which he first taught the Lord’s Prayer.
Located in northeast Israel, the Sea of Galilee is 166 square kilometers (64 square miles). At 215 meters below sea level, it’s the lowest freshwater lake on Earth and the second lowest lake overall, with only the Dead Sea situated lower. It’s fed both by underground springs and the Jordan River, which flows through the lake from north to south.
The Sea of Galilee’s position between the Golan Heights and the Galilee region is located along the division between the African and Arabian plates, making it a prime location for volcanic activity and earthquakes. It’s nestled in the great depression of Jordan, with Syria to the northeast.
While the sea is well-known for its biblical references, it appears to have been a source of livelihood to much earlier populations. Just three kilometers south of the lake, deposits dating back 400,000 years or more have been found with prehistoric tools and signs of human remains.
The Sea of Galilee & Psalm 23 is just one of the pairings of photos and Bible verses you’ll find in Testaments of Israel. View all the examples of the modern, breathtaking images of the Holy Land here.