Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Aleteia
Wednesday 22 September |
Saint of the Day: St. Maurice and the Theban Legion
home iconArt & Culture
line break icon

Did you know that Jesus’ homeland of Galilee was (and is) a lush and green oasis?

GALILEE

Israel_photo_gallery | Flickr CC by ND 2.0

Zelda Caldwell - published on 03/23/19

The region remains fertile, thanks to high rainfall and relatively cool temperatures.

The climate in ancient Galilee, where Jesus grew up and spent most of his life, was a lush and green oasis bordering the hotter, drier, desert-like region of Judea.

As it was then, mountainous northern Galilee is today home to rolling green fields dotted with wildflowers, thanks to the region’s relatively low temperatures and high rainfall.

In lower Galilee, where Jesus’ hometown of Nazareth was located, the 1st-century Jewish historian Flavius Josephus described the fertile climate:

Its nature is wonderful as well as its beauty; its soil is so fruitful that all sorts of trees can grow upon it, and the inhabitants accordingly plant all sorts of trees there; for the temper of the air is so well mixed, that it agrees very well with those several sorts, particularly walnuts, which require the coldest air, flourish there in vast plenty; there are palm trees also, which grow best in hot air; fig trees also and olives grow near them, which yet require an air that is more temperate. One may call this place the ambition of nature, where it forces those plants that are naturally enemies to one another to agree together; it is a happy contention of the seasons, as if every one of them laid claim to this country; for it not only nourishes different sorts of autumnal fruit beyond men’s expectation, but preserves them a great while; it supplies men with the principal fruits, with grapes and figs continually, during ten months of the year and the rest of the fruits as they become ripe together through the whole year” (The Jewish War, Book 3, Chapter 10:8).

Most of the ancient residents of Galilee, located in the fertile Beit Netofa and Nahal Sippori valleys, were farmers, according to Josephus, who recorded the existence of 204 towns and villages in the region. Today, as a country where only 20 percent of the land is arable, Israel manages to produce about 75 percent of its own food requirements. Crops include wheat, sorghum, corn, cotton, and fruits and vegetables. The country is also a major exporter of dates, avocados, olive oil, pomegranates and almonds.

The Sea of Galilee, the large freshwater lake that was at the center of so much of Jesus’ ministry, was surrounded by fertile land and provided water and fish for the entire region, just as it does today. In February of 2019, after a five-year drought, the lake rose six and a half feet, thanks to heavy rains that brought the promise of greener days ahead.

Click on the slideshow for pictures of the lushness of the Galilee today.

Tags:
Holy LandJesus
Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read Aleteia.org every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...




Top 10
1
ANMOL RODRIGUEZ
Domitille Farret d'Astiès
Attacked with acid as a baby, Anmol Rodriguez overcomes and inspi...
2
ARGENTINE CHILDREN
Esteban Pittaro
Argentine “Mother Teresa” was a former model and actress who embr...
3
RESURRECTION
Philip Kosloski
Your body is not a “shell” for your spirit
4
Our Lady of La Salette
Philip Kosloski
How Our Lady of La Salette can give us hope in darkness
5
PRAY
Philip Kosloski
Pray this Psalm when you successfully recover from an illness
6
OUR LADY
Philip Kosloski
An alternative Hail Mary to Our Lady of Sorrows
7
PIER GIORGIO FRASSATI
Cerith Gardiner
12 Habits of Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati that every young adult...
See More
Newsletter
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.