Journey Through The Scriptures

Mountains and Waters of Israel

Lesson 7: Two More Important Bodies of Water

(Scripture to Read: Genesis 14:1–24; Numbers 34:10–12; Joshua 12:2–3; 13:24–28)

Two of the most famous bodies of water in Israel are the Dead Sea and the Sea of Galilee. The Dead Sea derives its name from its most famous feature, the fact that it has no outlet and thus cannot sustain life because of its unusually high concentration of minerals. Interestingly, this large lake is never called the “Dead Sea” in Scripture. Instead, it is called the “Sea of Salt” among other names, and is mentioned most prominently in the battle Abram fought to rescue his nephew Lot and recover the goods of Sodom and Gomorrah. Some people believe that the remains of these ruined cities actually lie beneath the Dead Sea.

The Sea of Galilee is known as the “Sea of Kinnereth” in Scripture, named for the region around this beautiful lake. It is only mentioned a handful of times the Hebrew Bible, and then only as part of the eastern boundary of the Promised Land. But the Sea of Galilee is well known by Christians as a focal point of Jesus’ ministry – and both it and the Dead Sea are popular highlights on any tour of Israel!

Study Questions

  1. Abram's victory in the region of the Dead Sea over a confederacy of kings holds several important spiritual lessons. Why did Abram give a tithe of the spoils to Melchizedek?
  2. Why do you think Abram refused a reward from the king of Sodom – to which, humanly speaking, Abram was entitled because of his brave actions?
  3. Read Deuteronomy 29:22-25. How did Moses use the example of Sodom and Gomorrah to teach Israel the importance of being faithful to God's covenant with them?

Something to Think About

In addition to representing specific locations in the Holy Land, waters are also used in the Bible to symbolize the difficulties and challenges all of us face in life. Here is a promise from God’s Word that we hope will bring you comfort: “Therefore let everyone who is godly pray to you while you may be found; surely when the mighty waters rise, they will not reach him” (Psalm 32:6).