In the Galilee seaside village of Kibbutz Ginosar, an historic archaeological discovery was made on January 24th, 1986. The discovery rocked the worlds of faith, history and archaeology. Following a prolonged drought that lowered the Galilee’s sea level, two fisherman brothers, Yuval and Moshe Lufan, discovered an ancient boat. At the same time a brilliant double rainbow crowned the skies over the Galilee. Extremely rare, many thought these rainbows and other simultaneous unexplainable events were signs from God, hailing the discovery of this ancient boat. Were these events just a coincidence – or were they actual signs from God?
To prevent looting or other inadvertent damage, the Lufan brothers, kibbutz members, famous marine archaeologist Dr. Kurt Raveh, Texas A&M University biblical archaeology professor Dr. Shelley Wachsmann and renowned Galilee scholar Mendel Nun sought to keep the find secret until it could be properly excavated. Despite their best efforts, news of the boat spread like wildfire throughout the region. Much of the news was based on rumor rather than factual information. Because of this, most of those who heard about the boat were more interested than they would have been with a typical archaeological find.
In Israel, a land blessed with a rich history and hundreds of thousands of artifacts, important discoveries happen on a fairly regular basis. This discovery, though, was different; there must have been something more to the story. Experts were brought in to establish the boat’s authenticity and exact age using scientific methods, including three independent precision Carbon-14 dating examinations. Dr. Wachsmann, Dr. Raveh, Dr. Orna Cohen (an archaeologist and a world specialist in artifact restoration, and in charge of the Jesus boat restoration and preservation), and many others played key roles in the boat’s complex and dangerous rescue over an intense and perilous eleven-day rescue period. Word of this unprecedented discovery traveled far and fast throughout the scientific community and to people of faith around the world.
What had been found was a Bible-era artifact like no other. Some consider it to be among the top ten biblical archaeological discoveries ever found. The Jesus Boat is a one-of-a-kind actual touch-point back to the exact time and place of Jesus!
Click here to purchase the book “The Boat and The Sea of Galilee” about the emotional, suspenseful and inspiring story of the boat and those who dedicated fourteen years of their lives to making it available for all the world to see.