St. Peters fish
As I stand on the deck of a fishing boat, cool March air to my face, powerful emotions flood my soul. Many times I have gone to sea or across wide lakes, exhilarated by salt spray or crisp mountain air, and with the anticipation of a denizen of the deep straining against my bent rod.
But today is better than any previous foray onto a body of water in search of fish. Today I am on the Sea of Galilee, also known as Lake Tiberias (or Kinneret in Hebrew). And the quarry we seek is the little St. Peters fish.
Our boat has been handcrafted to resemble an authentic vessel that would have plied these waters in the first century. My heart races as I think, I am on the sea that Jesus sailed. Surrounding the lake are subdued hills, creased with furrowed ridges. My eyes take in countryside that Jesus walked during a major portion of His ministry. The landscape may have changed some, but these waters appear as they did to Him. Here He stilled the storm, and when reaching the other shore delivered a man from a legion of demons. Here He called four fishermen. Jesus sent one of them, Peter, to the shore once to catch a fish. In its mouth, Peter found a coin, sufficient for the tax Jesus had been asked to pay. Tradition says the St. Peters fish of today is the same species caught by the apostle.
Now a crewman, dressed in ancient fishermans garb, disturbs my reverie. He casts a net, first on one side of our boat, then the other, without success. Just like the disciples, trying fruitlessly all night until Jesus came on the scene. As the sailor leans over the side to draw the net back, in my minds eye I see Peter, slipping over the side and joining Jesus in a walk on the water. No fish yet and we have just watched the sun dip below the burnished horizon. A final cast produces a tiny fish a St. Peters fish. As the little fish flops on deck in the net, I quickly reach down, pick it up admiringly and toss it back into the water.
Our cruise nearly done, a small skiff piloted by a single individual crosses our path, leaving a modest wake. One man can leave a wake across the sea on which Jesus sailed, I think. But soon that wake is completely gone, as is the larger one left by our boat. Only the wake that Jesus left will last.
To experience Israel is to be astounded that such a tiny land could have such worldwide impact. The fact that Jesus walked here makes the land great. We present a small sample of this lands treasures in this issue.
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