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The Galilee Boat

For Christians, the Jesus Boat is one of the most precious and meaningful archaeological treasures in the world.

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For Christians, the Jesus Boat is 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.


Scholars say it was a combined ferry and fishing boat, and might have even served in a sea battle against the Romans, but for more than a million Christians who have seen it over the years, and for those looking forward to doing so, it will always be “the Jesus boat.” While no one knows exactly who rode in the boat or what its purpose was, it serves as a powerful visual reminder of the Gospel stories of Jesus and his disciples, many of whom were fishermen themselves.


After complex restoration, the Galilee Boat now sits above a calm blue-green sea at the Yigal Alon Center at Kibbutz Ginosar. At this superb indoor display, visitors learn that this mainly oak-and-cedar craft was patched repeatedly and lovingly with 12 different kinds of wood, and that these very trees still grow along the walk to the museum.


Sculptor and kibbutz gardener Yuvi Lufan, who along with his brother Moshe discovered the boat, is now part of the living history of the Galilee Boat. “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.”


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