Map Notes:  The exact location of Bethsaida is controversial.  While Peter and Andrew were fisherman who were from Bethsaida, there was evidence that they were living in Capernaum and used the beach at Capernaum for a landing as it was a few feet from the edge of town.   Bethsaida may have been a regional term as well as a town.  Old photos and maps show the shoreline was much further inland in previous centuries.  The river may have been navigable close to the western edge of Tel Betsaida.

As night approached Jesus sent his disciples away by boat. 

In Matthew 14, Jesus sent his disciples away in the boat and he went up onto the mountain apart to pray: "and when even was come, he was there alone. 24 But the boat was now in the midst of the sea, distressed by the waves; for the wind was contrary. 25 And in the fourth watch of the night he came unto them, walking upon the sea. 26 And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a ghost; and they cried out for fear. 27 But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid. 28 And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto the upon the waters. 29 And he said, Come. And Peter went down from the boat, and walked upon the waters to come to Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried out, saying, Lord, save me. 31 And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and took hold of him, and saith unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt? 32 And when they were gone up into the boat, the wind ceased. 33 And they that were in the boat worshipped him, saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of God. 34 And when they had crossed over, they came to the land, unto Gennesaret."

Notes:  Wind contrary in the midst of the lake, distress over waves, when Peter and Jesus got in the boat the wind stopped, they arrived at Gennesaret "garden of riches".  Pliny described the lake by the name Gennesaret (Natural History).  Jesus walked to his disciples about the fourth watch of the night.  There were four three hour watches.  Nine hours of a twelve hour night would have passed, but not twelve for him to be there before the break of day and end of night.  

Mark 6:

"45 And straightway he constrained his disciples to enter into the boat, and to go before him unto the other side to Bethsaida, while he himself sendeth the multitude away. 46 And after he had taken leave of them, he departed into the mountain to pray. 47 And when even was come, the boat was in the midst of the sea, and he alone on the land. 48 And seeing them distressed in rowing, for the wind was contrary unto them, about the fourth watch of the night he cometh unto them, walking on the sea; and he would have passed by them: 49 but they, when they saw him walking on the sea, supposed that it was a ghost, and cried out; 50 for they all saw him, and were troubled. But he straightway spake with them, and saith unto them, Be of good cheer: it is I; be not afraid. 51 And he went up unto them into the boat; and the wind ceased: and they were sore amazed in themselves; 52 for they understood not concerning the loaves, but their heart was hardened. 53 And when they had crossed over, they came to the land unto Gennesaret, and moored to the shore. 54 And when they were come out of the boat, straightway the people knew him, 55 and ran round about that whole region, and began to carry about on their beds those that were sick, where they heard he was. 56 And wheresoever he entered, into villages, or into cities, or into the country, they laid the sick in the marketplaces, and besought him that they might touch if it were but the border of his garment: and as many as touched him were made whole."

Notes:  After breaking bread, Jesus sent his disciples to Bethsaida, and when they crossed over they came to the land of Gennesaret (Gennesaret was beyond Bethsaida to the west).  Jesus walked on the water and then they took him into the boat.  The wind died down.  They quickly arrived in the land of Gennesaret. They were not using sails, but rowing.  They were probably going into the wind. 

John 6:

"15 Jesus therefore perceiving that they were about to come and take him by force, to make him king, withdrew again into the mountain himself alone. 16 And when evening came, his disciples went down unto the sea; 17 and they entered into a boat, and were going over the sea unto Capernaum. And it was now dark, and Jesus had not yet come to them. 18 And the sea was rising by reason of a great wind that blew. 19 When therefore they had rowed about five and twenty or thirty furlongs (3.5 - 4 miles), they behold Jesus walking on the sea, and drawing nigh unto the boat: and they were afraid. 20 But he saith unto them, It is I; be not afraid. 21 They were willing therefore to receive him into the boat: and straightway the boat was at the land whither they were going. 22 On the morrow the multitude that stood on the other side of the sea saw that there was no other boat there, save one, and that Jesus entered not with his disciples into the boat, but that his disciples went away alone 23 (howbeit there came boats from Tiberias nigh unto the place where they ate the bread after the Lord had given thanks): 24 when the multitude therefore saw that Jesus was not there, neither his disciples, they themselves got into the boats, and came to Capernaum, seeking Jesus. 25 And when they found him on the other side of the sea, they said unto him, Rabbi, when camest thou hither?"

Notes:  Jesus sent his disciples to Capernaum.  The waves were rising because of the great wind.  Jesus walked to them and after they let him climb into the boat the winds were calmed and they reached the shore.  Other boats from Tiberius went to the place where Jesus had fed the multitude and then when they got there they found Jesus was gone and went to Capernaum and found him on the other side of the lake.  According to the book of John, Jesus' disciples rowed about twenty-five or thirty stadia. 

The next day Jesus was teaching in the synagogue of Capernaum the next day: John 6:32
Jesus said to them, "I tell you the truth, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world."  Jesus had sent his disciples to Capernaum after they broke bread and that is where they arrived. 


In Matthew the total distance was 9-12 hours as there were twelve hours of night and four three hour watches.  John indicated that the wind was causing rising seas about the time of Passover.  I assume it was some time before the Passover for they were generally supposed to be in Jerusalem for the Passover as required by Jewish Law. 

The rain storms lasted from November until March in this part of Israel.   In January of 2006 I witnessed a thundershower that caused some white caps to rise off the shore of Tiberias.  The palm fronds and a flag in Tiberias were blown from the west and pointing east.  During much of the year the winds were from the west.  Sometimes the storms from the Mediterranean pushed across the lake with violent force.  Windmills in the Golan were pointed west to catch these prevailing winds.  There were local winds that rushed down the mountain sides abruptly with changes in temperature.  There were also the Sharqi winds out of the east.  These sometimes arrived as early as March or April and were likely to be felt in May.  These easterly gusting winds were sometimes reversed by the west winds.  One year the east winds of March (1992) sent waves crashing over the roof the stone masonry Greek monastery between the leaning tower and Russian Pilgrim Center on the shore of the city of Tiberias near the southern end of the marina (Photo in the Ein Gev "House of Anchors" Galilee Fishing Museum).  

On December 12, 2010 a storm broke across the Mediterranean creating 30 foot waves at sea.  At Tiberias a large window at the Holiday Inn was blown in injuring people inside.  Power lines were down.  Trees were down.  Solar water heaters were knocked off rooftops with 50-110 km/hr winds reported.  Eight inches of rain fell within 48 hours and seven feet of snow fell on the upper slopes of Mt. Hermon.      

One reason I defended the feeding of the 5,000 on the NE shore theory, from where Jesus walked across the water, was that this event was supposed to have happened shortly after John was beheaded by Herod as reported by John's disciples to Jesus and this NE area near Bethsaida was in Phillip's territory.  Herod had taken his brother Phillip's wife and she had ordered John killed for him accusing her of adultery.  Some had thought that Jesus was a resurrected John the Baptist.  The area of Arbel Beach to the NW was a bit too close to Tiberias where Herod had a a palace.  The place where the feeding took place was supposed to be remote.  One of the largest towns on the north shore was Magdala (near Migdal) that was near Arbel Beach.  The NE shore would have been considered a more remote, less settled area as it is to this day.       

Luke indicated the feeding happened at Bethsaida; this regional authority may have extended some distance around the shore to the E - SE.  

I presumed Jesus may have fed the 5,000 on the lower slopes of the Golan Mtns. in the NE quarter of the lake coast.   

There was also a feeding of the 4,000 mentioned in Mark 8 and Matthew 15 that has by tradition been thought to have happened near Tel Haddar, a mound of ruins, a few meters from the shore between Ramot and Tzelon

Parable of the Mustard Seed
     A Mustard Field Along Highway 87-North Shore of Galilee
     Mustard Seeds in the Palm of a Hand
     A Branching Mustard Plant Near the Jordan River/Bethsaida
     Mustard Field March 1999
     Mustard Flowers
Upper Most Seats of the Synagogue

The Fig Tree
     Mt of Olives Fig Tree April 12-13, 2005
     Fig and Pomegranate trees below Siloam in Jerusalem
     Israel Photos II fig tree page
     Sycomore Fig Tree
The Good Shepherd
The Parable of the Sheep and the Goats
     Goat Herder
Ritual Cleansing
     The Olive Harvest of Samaria
     Mt. Ebal
     Olive Tree
Pearl of Great Price
A First Century Synagogue at Gamala
     View from the Vulture Overlook
     Overview of Gamala
Modern Galilee Fishing Boats

Caves and/or tombs
     Steep Slope near the Lake
Feeding the 5,000
     On the Mountain
     Walking on Water
     Ramot-Zelon area

     Alternate location
Mt. Hermon

The Pool(s) of Bethesda in Jerusalem
     Healing Pools
     Southern Pool
     Crusader Chapel and St. Ann Church
The Pool of Siloam in Jerusalem
     Gihon Spring
     Hezekiah's Tunnel
     Overlook of  Siloam
Tower of Siloam
A Watch Tower in a Vineyard/Olive Grove
     Grape Vines at Beth Horan

Mt. Precipice
     South Face
     Over the edge
     Measuring Line
     View of Nazareth from near Megiddo
     The Basilica of the Annunciation
Healing a Paralytic in Capernaum
Waterskins and Wineskins
The Fish and the Coin
A Denarius
Casting out a demon
The Road to Jericho
     Old Roman Road
     Wilderness Above Jericho

     Old Jericho
Western Wall
Gethsemane and the Cave of  Gethsemane
Church of the Holy Sepulcher
Rolling Stone Tombs - Jerusalem
     Other Rolling Stone Tombs

Solar Power in Israel

Salt of the earth

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