Beside the Sea of Galilee and up from Tiberias lies the Kibbutz Ginosar. A kibbutz is an area in Israel rich in farmland and vegetation. Kibbutz communities rely on agriculture for their income, and much of the area’s fruits and vegetables come from these communities. The Kibbutz Ginosar is also known as the place for the “resurrection” of a 2000 year old fishing vessel which dates back to the first century. Known as the “Jesus boat,” this boat was probably in use for many decades on the Sea of Galilee, and was the kind of boat that Jesus and his disciples may have crossed the sea in many times. Visitors can see this remarkable boat on display, read about the detailed process of recovering this boat from its place in the mud of the receded sea, and grab a cup of coffee in the little shop at the museum.
As we entered the museum and saw a film about the discovery of this boat, I wondered if this was the very boat that maybe Jesus and his disciples were sitting in when the storm arose one day on the sea. Or maybe if this was the boat that Jesus used as a pulpit to preach and teach from as the crowds gathered around the shoreline. Or, possibly, this was the boat that Jesus walked up to in the middle of the night, the same boat that Peter climbed out of to walk on the sea, the same boat that held the other 11 disciples who wanted to remain in the safe shelter of their comfortable faith.
If this boat could talk, I wonder what stories it would tell us about Jesus calling his friends “ye of little faith”, or exactly how many fish were in the Resurrection Catch of the Day when the risen Jesus made breakfast on the beach for his friends.
Each of us has a story to tell. The disciples told their stories of Jesus in letters, sermons and stories handed down through the centuries, and they are interesting and fun to read. Just like the boat and the disciples, we each have a story to tell, and if we consider ourselves Christians, we each have a story to tell of our experience of knowing and following Jesus. We pass our stories down from one person to another, from one generation to another, just like the followers of Jesus did in the first century, and just like the history represented in this 2000 year old boat. Sometimes our stories are told with words, and sometimes with just how we live our lives. The story of this boat survives in its rich history. Our stories survive in the hearts and minds of people we know and love. How are you telling your faith story so that others may be encouraged in their own faith journeys?
Rev. Jan McCoy is the Associate Pastor of Covington First United Methodist Church in downtown Covington. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at covingtonfirst.org.