The Galilee Region:
The Land Where Jesus Spent most of His Life
The Galilee is a mountainous, history-soaked region of the Holy Land that is home to verdant forests, sparkling streams, vast lakes, and high peaks. Located in northern Israel, the Galilee is a picturesque province where many scenes from the Bible took place. Jesus spent most of his life in the Galilee, which has become a popular tour destination for Christians who travel to Israel. Some of the most important Christian sites in the world, including Capernaum, Nazareth, and the Sea of Galilee, are located there.
The Galilee is typically divided into three regions: western Galilee, the lower Galilee, and the upper Galilee. Since ancient times, the Galilee has been heavily populated because it is fertile and boasts abundant water sources, unlike the drier south. Fishing and agriculture have long been important industries in the Galilee.
Jesus in the Galilee
Jesus grew up in Nazareth, a small agricultural village in the lower Galilee. When Jesus began his ministry, he moved from Nazareth to Capernaum, a city located on the north shore of the Sea of Galilee. Jesus spent most of the three years of his ministry in Capernaum, where he performed several miracles and gave many parables.
The Sea of Galilee, which is also known as Kinneret, Lake Tiberias, or Lake of Gennesaret, is the largest freshwater lake in Israel. The Sea of Galilee is primarily fed by the Jordan River and partially fed by underwater springs. Located 214 meters (702 feet) below sea level, the Sea of Galilee is the lowest freshwater lake on earth. The Sea of Galilee plays a prominent role in many gospel stories about Jesus, and it is where Jesus walked on water and calmed a storm.
Jesus’ first disciples were the Galilean fisherman Andrew, Peter, and Philip, who hailed from Bethsaida, an ancient fishing village on the Sea of Galilee. The exact location of Bethsaida is unknown. In the New Testament, Bethsaida was referred to as the place where Jesus healed a blind man and fed 5,000 people. Jesus eventually cursed Bethsaida, together with Capernaum and Chorazin, because the people there witnessed his miracles yet didn’t believe in him.
Cana was an ancient Jewish village in the lower Galilee that was mentioned in the New Testament. Jesus went to Cana before beginning his public ministry. Scholars believe that the site of the modern Arab village of Kfar Kanna is where Cana was located. Jesus performed his first miracle at a wedding in Cana, transforming water into wine. The first recorded healing of Jesus also occurred in Cana, when Jesus healed the nobleman’s dying son.
Tabgha, on the northwestern shore of the Sea of Galilee, is where Jesus called on Peter, Andrew, James, and John to follow him. Tabgha is also the traditional site of the Multiplication of Loaves and Fishes. According to the Gospel of John, Jesus multiplied five loaves of bread and two small fish to feed 5,000 people. The Church of the Multiplication was built at the site where the miracle took place and features a mosaic of loaves and fishes.
Another site of interest in Tabgha for those on Christian pilgrimages to the Holy Land is the Church of the Primacy of St. Peter, where Jesus appeared the fourth time after his resurrection. The Mount of Beatitudes, the site where Jesus delivered the Sermon on the Mount, is also located near Tabgha.
Take a Spiritual Tour of the Galilee with Christian Holyland Tours
Walk in Jesus’ footsteps and explore the roots of your faith on a tour to Israel with Christian Holyland Tours. Led by experienced, knowledgeable guides, our pilgrimages will take you to the most important Christian sites in the Galilee and other parts of the Holy Land. For more information, call 1.800.2.ISRAEL (or 1.800.247.7235)