The picture looks east from my hotel room in Tiberias early on a Thursday morning (I was trying – unsuccessfully – to get a sunrise photo).
The scene is the Sea of Galilee, also known as the “Sea of Tiberias” (John 6:1) and the “Lake of Kinnereth” (Joshua 13:27) with the mountains in the distance. Somewhere over there, perhaps straight ahead, is where Jesus fed the 5000 (John 6).
Tiberias is mentioned only once in the New Testament and it’s a funny little story. After Jesus fed the 5000, he sent the disciples away, dismissed the crowd and went off to be alone. The next morning, some of the crowd was still around and they, knowing Jesus did not leave (in the only boat there was) with the disciples, wondered what happened to Jesus. While they were wondering, several boats arrived from Tiberias and the curious crowd took the boats and headed for Capernaum.
John doesn’t go into detail, but I can’t imagine boats being “available for the picking” like Capital Bikeshare bicycles. So . . . the crowd seemingly stole the boats to go find Jesus. I guess they thought if the cause was worthy enough, a little larceny could be excused. The Bible doesn’t condemn or address every case of unethical behavior. God however does expect us to catch those instances as we read, and perhaps shake our heads with incredulity at the shallowness of their spirituality. In more reflective moments, perhaps we can also catch a similar shallowness in our own spirituality when we are tempted to pardon poor behavior with the excuse that “good came from it in the end.”