Vicinity of Galilee has been described as 'earthly paradise'

After Jesus was rejected in Nazareth, where He announced His divine Sonship following His 40-day fast in the wilderness, He went to Capernaum, "a city of Galilee," and taught them on the sabbath days." (See Luke 4:16-31.) Capernaum "is upon the sea coast, in the borders of Zabulon and Napthalim." (Matt. 4:13.)

Galilee, in its Canaanitic or Hebrew origin, signifies a "ring" or "circuit." The name came to be associated with the ring of cities lying about the hill country north of Samaria. In the days of Jesus, the Sea of Galilee was surrounded by a number of important cities, such as Tiberias, Bethsaida, Capernaum, Chorazin and Magdala. The sea - known also as Lake of Gennesareth, Sea of Tiberias and Chinnereth - was the setting for many New Testament events.A common mode of travel between the cities circling the Sea of Galilee was by boat. An incident upon the sea in the Savior's ministry is His miraculous calming of its waters during a storm. (See Matt. 8:23-27 and Mark 4:36-41.)

The sea is a fresh-water inland lake a little more than 12 miles long and seven miles wide. The Jordan River flows through it, from north to south, on its way to the Dead Sea.

The western shores of the Sea of Galilee are about 12 to 15 miles from Nazareth, where Jesus spent His boyhood years, so it is likely He was familiar with the sea and its neighboring hills.

Being about 680 feet below sea level, the body of water becomes quite warm during certain times. Cold air rushing down from the sharply rising hills meets the warm air rising from the water. The result is a sudden and violent storm. It is probable that it was such a storm that arose when Jesus and His disciples crossed the Sea of Galilee.

In The Life of Christ, Frederick W. Farrar described the region of Galilee as an "earthly paradise. . . . There were no such trees, and no such gardens, anywhere in Palestine as in the land of Gennesareth," Farrar wrote. "The very name means garden of abundance,' and the numberless flowers blossom over a little plain which isin sight like unto an emerald.' It was doubtless a part of Christ's divine plan that His ministry should begin amid scenes so beautiful, and that the good tidings, which revealed to mankind their loftiest hopes and purest pleasures, should be first proclaimed in a region of unusual loveliness."

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