Just a few weeks ago, I returned home from some incredible travels in Israel. Still processing all the things I saw and experienced, my mind often returns to the Sea of Galilee.
The Sea of Galilee was one of the sites I was most excited to see before I arrived. Our flight arrived in Tel Aviv late in the afternoon, and a two-hour bus ride through the dark took us to our hotel that first night in Tiberius.
The next morning we woke, and hunkered up to begin our sightseeing, I flung open the hotel curtains to check the weather situation. My jaw dropped and I literally broke into tears when I realized our hotel was situated right on the western shore of the Sea of Galilee. What a view!
The Sea of Galilee isn't really a sea at all, just a lake, and not even a huge lake. Relatively small, it's only 7 1/2 miles wide at its widest point and 13 miles long. Our days of sightseeing in the area following that first morning convinced me of a most amazing truth. Most of Jesus' recorded messages and miracles at the Sea of Galilee took place in a very small slice of land along its northern shore.
Capernaum (see the photo of its ruins) and Bethsaida, two of the three towns where Jesus performed most of His miracles, bracket the northern tip of the lake. The third town, Chorazin, sits a little farther north, just up the hillside from the lake. Even if one includes the Mount of Beatitudes (photo below), Tabgha (the spot where Jesus likely called his disciples to follow him), and Kursi (the site where Jesus cast the demons into the herd of swine), the area is still quite small.
Basically, much of Jesus' profound ministry took place on a small slice of a tiny lake in an obscure part of an out-of-the-way province in the Roman Empire. According to Matthew 4:14, the reason Jesus centered his ministry around this tiny body of water was to "fulfill what was spoken through Isaiah the prophet."
I don't want to miss the significance of this connection.
God delights in using the small, the insignificant, the despised, and the neglected to accomplish his great plan. Evidently God measures importance and success with a different yardstick than that used by the world.
Many things in my life conspire to make me feel small and insignificant. Deep inside, I often wonder how God could ever use someone as...insignificant as me.
The Sea of Galilee and Jesus' small area of ministry teaches me clearly that God is able to demonstrate his awesome power in spite of our smallness, our insignificance, and our limitations.
God chose that little lake there in Galilee to be the stage on which some of the greatest events in world history unfolded. I'm thankful today that he also uses people and places the world deems as insignificant to be the vessels through which he changes lives and displays his faithfulness.