Fr Stephen Smuts

Posts Tagged ‘Sea of Galilee

Sea of Galilee Quiz

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Can you pass this Sea of Galilee quiz?

The Sea of Galilee is important for many reasons. How much do you know about the sea?

It’s not easy. Take it here.

I love that place…

Written by Fr Stephen Smuts

September 23, 2015 at 16:26

Man Dies After Snake Bite at Sea of Galilee

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57-year-old man dies after being bitten by snake while on vacation with family in Sea of Galilee.

Ynet news:

A 57-year-old man from central Israel was bitten by a snake and died as a result during a camping trip to Lake Kinneret.

At first the man felts woozy and lost consciousness. After he received medical attention and multiple resuscitation attempts failed, medics were forced to declare him dead.

The man arrived at the Haklaim (Farmer’s) Beach on the Sea of Galilee near Kibbutz Hukok on the northwestern shore of the sea with his wife and daughter.

While vacationing at the beach, during the evening hours, near the family’s tent and with darkness already encroaching and making visibility problematic, the man was bitten on his right hand.

His daughter later told medical officials that immediately afterwards she saw an animal slithering away from the scene, leading her to assume her father was bitten by a snake, a fact corroborated by medial examination.

“When we arrived at the scene the man was unconscious,” Taleb Abdullah, an MDA paramedic, told Ynet.

“His right hand bore bite marks. We performed multiplies resuscitation attempts for close to an hour, but were eventually forced to declare the man dead,” he concluded.

Since the beginning of the summer, there have been numerous snake biting incidents in the north.

Thursday, a 28-year-old man from one of the Arab villages in the north was brought to the Ziv Medical Center in Safed in serious conditions after being bitten by a snake. He was hospitalized in the hospitals ICU where he still remains in serious but stable condition.

The Times of Israel adds:

… Local vipers, Vipera palaestinae, are the most common poisonous snakes found in Israel. They grow to an average length of 90 centimeters (36 inches) and are mainly nocturnal. Their venom contains a hematoxin that damages blood circulation and the lymphatic system. They generally feed on small rodents, toads, and birds.


Written by Fr Stephen Smuts

June 22, 2013 at 11:16

Road Found at Bethsaida from Time of Jesus

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Christian News Network:

Archaeologists have uncovered what they believe is a road that was traveled by Jesus and the disciples in the ancient town of Bethsaida.

In conducting a dig near the Northeastern shore of the Sea of Galilee in Israel, which was originally meant to serve as a mission to find artifacts from the Roman period, archaeologists came across a distinctive discovery.

“We uncovered a paved street from the time of Jesus’s disciples, which runs westward through the residential area from the corner of the Fisherman’s House down toward the Jordan valley,” Nicolae Roddy of Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska, one of the leaders of the dig, told the publication Popular Archaeology. “I tell people that Andrew, Peter and Phillip almost certainly walked on it because they would have had to have gone out of their way to avoid it!”

Dr. Rami Arav of the University of Nebraska has reportedly been working on excavating Bethsaida for approximately 20 years, and others like Roddy have joined in the adventure.

Bethsaida, which literally means “House of Fishing,” is mentioned a number of times in the Bible as a city that Jesus visited to preach repentance and faith in the Gospel. John 1 outlines that “Phillip was of Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter,” and that Jesus had found Phillip in the area of Galilee and called the fisherman to follow him. Mark 8 speaks of Jesus healing a blind man in Bethsaida, and in Luke 10, Jesus rebukes the city of Bethsaida for their rejection of Him.

“Woe unto thee, Chorazin! Woe unto thee, Bethsaida!” he said. “For if the mighty works had been done in Tyre and Sidon, which have been done in you, they had a great while ago repented, sitting in sackcloth and ashes.”

Archaeologists state that Bethsaida is believed to be part of the kingdom of Geshur, which is mentioned in the Old Testament. King David had married Maaca, the daughter of the king of Geshur.



Written by Fr Stephen Smuts

December 3, 2012 at 18:52

Fishers of Men

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Today’s video short brings to life Matthew 4:18-19 where we learn that Peter is a fishermen on the Sea of Galilee who leaves everything to follow Jesus.  In turn, Jesus promises Peter that he will make him a fisher of men.  Yet, at the end of the gospels, still on the shores of the Sea of Galilee and after a miraculous catch of fish, Jesus gives his final charge to the fisherman Peter by instructing him to “Feed my lambs…Take care of my sheep…Feed my sheep.” John 21:15-17

The nature of fishing and shepherding are very different.  And yet, each human soul needs both.  Fishing is about catching while shepherding is about caring, providing and protecting.  The Bible also makes this distinction between the nature of the spiritual gifts of evangelism and pastoring.  My experience has been that evangelism is like fishing, while pastoring is synonymous with shepherding.

Jesus provided Peter with both of these gifts.  Soon Peter would go fishing in Jerusalem and with the gospel he would net 3,000 souls for the kingdom of heaven (Acts 2).  Now he had 3,000 souls to feed and care for.  He did both in obedience to the One who had caught and cared for his own soul.  My prayer has always been to have within our ministry a heart for both of these gifts and to see them functioning together at the heart of the church, whom like Peter, Jesus commissioned to both fish and shepherd the souls of people.


Written by Fr Stephen Smuts

September 22, 2012 at 18:55

Photo Friday: Sea of Galilee

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Written by Fr Stephen Smuts

July 6, 2012 at 21:43

Leeches Invade Sea of Galilee

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Sad news this.

From Haaretz:

Leeches have invaded Lake Kinneret’s [the Sea of Galilee’s] shores – for the second time in seven years.

Standing in the water for as little as two minutes will cause your legs to be covered in hundreds of leeches. These particular types are not blood-suckers, making them relatively easy to remove once one is out of the water.

They are found on the lakebed, at depths of 0.5 to one meter, at two spots over the last few days: near the Sapir visitors center and along the western coastline. They live off snails and other invertebrates.

The leeches first overran the shores of the lake seven years ago.

Four types of leeches are known to live in the Kinneret, but they are usually present only in small numbers. This year, however, huge quantities have been detected.

The rest of the story suggests some explanations, including human activity and the rapidly changing water level.

Clouds over Sea of Galilee, tb102904607

Sea of Galilee

Written by Fr Stephen Smuts

June 28, 2012 at 15:40

Sea of Galilee Water Level Inching Towards the Black Line

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The water level in Lake Kinneret, the Sea of Galilee, has dropped by nearly 11 inches in September alone, inching toward the black line.

Arutz Sheva reports:

The water level in Lake Kinneret (the Sea of Galilee) dropped by nearly 11 inches in September, according to environmental officials.

The unhappy news follows Israel’s standard hot, dry summer which began with the water level standing at 16.9 inches above the “red line,” 213 meters below sea level.

The lake’s water level has now dropped to 16.9 inches below the red line, the recommended level at which water should no longer be drawn from the lake. The level is also only 56.9 inches away from the “black line,” 215 meters below sea level, beyond which it is dangerous to pump water from the lake.

Salt springs at the bottom of the basin suppressed by the heavy water pressure above could salinate Israel’s only sweet water source if water were to be pumped at that point.

The water level of the lake came perilously close to reaching that level on December 11, 2010, when it descended to 214.12 meters below sea level. The lowest level ever reached by the lake in modern times occurred on November 29, 2001, when it reached 214.87 meters below sea level.

During the winter, it seemed as though the winter rains might just be enough to replenish the water supply in the lake, which serves as a massive reservoir for the country.

The Kinneret is 47 meters deep at its deepest point. It is fed by rainwater from various streams in the Galilee and Golan Heights, such as the Jordan River, Nahal Meshushim, Nahal Amud, Nahal El-Al and Nahal Yehudiya, all of which are often augmented in winter by melted snow from Mount Hermon.
In March, the water level finally reached the the red line, and environmentalists breathed a sigh of relief, believing the worst was over.

But there was not enough rain to make up for five years of drought. When the traditional switch from the seasonal prayer for dew to the seasonal prayer for rain comes this Simchat Torah, Israelis will add a special passion this year to the service.

Written by Fr Stephen Smuts

October 10, 2011 at 06:56


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