Two brothers walking alongside the Sea of Galilee in 1986 looking for treasures washed up on the shore stumbled upon an old-looking boat sticking out of the mud. Little did they know, they had just discovered a boat from the first century that is now known as the “Jesus boat.”
“When we found it, the wood was wet like a sponge,” said Marina Banai, marketing manager for the Yigal Allon Center. “The only reason it survived is because it was immediately covered by water. It’s a miracle this boat survived. It’s very special.”
On display in the museum, the boat stays in a special room at 70 degrees Fahrenheit for its protection. Information about the boat’s discovery and theories on its use as a fishing boat during the first century line the walls. Dark blue walls and lights give the room an underwater feel that recalls the environment where the boat spent the past 2,000 years.
A quiet sail on Pilgrim Boats’ replicated first-century vessel helped me experience a ride similar to a ride one would have had on the Jesus boat. As the boat drifted along the Sea of Galilee, I listened to music and recognized churches I had visited earlier in the day going by on the shoreline.