Galilee, Sea of, Lake Tiberias (tĪbĭrˈēəs) [key], or Lake Kinneret kĭnˈərĕtˌ, lake, 64 sq mi (166 sq km), 14 mi (23 km) long, and 3 to 7 mi (4.8–11.3 km) wide, NE Israel; its surface is c.700 ft (210 m) below sea level. The lake, occupying a downwarped basin, is fed and drained by the Jordan River. The Syria border follows part of the eastern shore, now occupied by Israel as part of the Golan Heights. Mineral springs, some of them hot, discharge into the lake, giving it a saline character. Israel's National Water Carrier Project uses the Sea of Galilee as a reservoir for water pumped south, via the National Water Conduit, to the Negev desert for irrigation and to the coastal plain to recharge the overdrawn watertable. However, despite the project, Israel's water supply in the late 20th cent. was restricted by a drop in the water level due to seasonal drought and increasing demand. In the time of Jesus there was a flourishing fishing industry in the lake; some fishing is still carried on, but the lake has suffered from overfishing. In the Old Testament the Sea of Galilee was called the Sea of Chinnereth or Chinneroth. In the New Testament it is named variously from nearby geographical features—Galilee, Gennesaret, or Tiberias.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.