I’ve always wanted to see the “Jesus Boat” that was found in the Sea of Galilee. No matter how much you love to read about history and watch historical movies, the experience cannot compare with seeing historical artifacts first hand with your own eyes.
It’s just mind boggling that a boat this old could have survived till now. And it is even more mind boggling when you consider that this boat was out on the sea of Galilee at the same time that Jesus was known to be present in the region. Did Jesus actually ride aboard this boat?
There is no proof, but he absolutely could have have boarded this boat that was carbon dated back to the time of Jesus. Or Jesus and his disciples may have sailed aboard one very much like it. Certainly any boat that Jesus and other local inhabitants of the era sailed, would have been similarly constructed.
No matter what your personal religious beliefs, it pulls history into focus, and makes it much more tangible.
Here is something solid, something humans can touch, that was once in daily use by regular people, thousands of years ago. Against all odds this relic of everyday ancient life, still exists.
It was also fascinating to hear the story of how the boat was discovered and to learn about the painstaking (and technologically clever) extraction of the boat from the Sea of Galilee mud that had engulfed preserved it. Can you imagine what it was like to just happen upon this boat one day? Once the boat was found the race was on to get it out of the water and preserve it. Every moment it was exposed to air and water, it faced potential destruction.
While visiting the museum we learned more about boat building styles at the time of Jesus and how this boat was likely used.
Whatever your religious beliefs, this museum is a perfect stop for families. It’s a quick visit to see the boat and interactive exhibits and watch the short educational film. There’s an excellent gift shop and afterwards you can walk on the adjacent pier, take a boat ride or go for a swim on the small beach.
If you are planning on staying here, and exploring the region for a few days, you might want to consider staying at the very comfortable and bucolic Kibbutz Nof Ginosaur hotel which is home to the Jesus Boat. Recently remodeled rooms are light, bright and very comfortable for families and the staff is very friendly.
The breakfasts at Kibbutz Ginosaur, like many breakfast buffets in Israel, are just amazing. The grounds all around this hotel really lend themselves to families – with plenty of space to run around, or just relax in an outdoor lounge chair while your kids have a romp.
The hotel is right on the waterfront at the Sea of Galilee so there are many opportunities for sailing and swimming as well. Take a boat ride and project yourself back in history to another time.