Mark 1:16 records Jesus, at the Sea of Galilee, calling fishermen to follow him. This is just one of many references to Jesus ministry around the Sea of Galilee. One of the more pleasurable experiences on our tour will be a boat ride 25 bottom of galileeon the sea. We’ll sail into the middle of the sea and get the view that Jesus and the disciples had as the crossed the sea and when Jesus taught from the boat. Some years ago a 2000 year old boat was retrieved from the bottom of the lake. It would have been the kind of boat that the fishermen used in Jesus day. Archaeological efforts are rare at the Sea of Galilee, but there has been some excitement recently. Just last month an article appeared in a newspaper saying, “A CIRCULAR structure lying at the bottom of the Sea of Galilee could contain the secrets of ­ancient life in the Middle East, researchers believe. But the Israeli researchers have no way of finding out what lies beneath because they lack the funding to carry out a full-scale under-water ­excavation.”

There is a fund raising effort taking place now to provide the necessary financing to study this strange object. The article goes on, “It’s very enigmatic, it’s very interesting, but the bottom line is we don’t know when it’s from, we don’t know what it’s connected to, we don’t know its function,” said Dani Nadel, an archaeologist at the University of Haifa, who is one of several researchers studying the discovery. He goes on, “We only know it is there, it is huge and it is unusual.” The authors conclude the structure is man-made of stones from nearby, and it weighs about 60,000 tons. The authors wrote it “is indicative of a complex, well-organized society, with planning skills and economic ability”.

The rest is a mystery. Yitzhak Paz, an archaeologist with the Israel Antiquities Authority who is involved in the project, said that based on the build-up of sediment, it is between 2,000 and 12,000 years old. There have been many suggestions as to what the object might be, “possibilities included a burial site, a place of worship or even a fish nursery, which were common in the area. Another archeologist commented: “This is such a huge structure that it truly is something unusual. It could have been a big ceremonial structure, or a ramp. There could have once been statues on top of people in certain rituals. I mean, I’m really going wild here. The truth is we don’t know how it was constructed, what its exact age is, how it was used, or how long ago it was used. We have several speculations, but we don’t know much except that it’s there and it’s huge.” I’m hoping we’ll learn a lot about this discovery when we’re there.