Double-Crossing the Sea of Galilee

Our English word “destination” is derived from the Latin word “destinare” and infers choosing to lockdown a goal. Choosing a destination establishes your intention to end up at a particular finish line.

For Christians, our destination is heaven…


Pastor William Welzein landed at Tel Aviv, Israel, determined to be the first person to swim a “double-crossing” (across and back again) of the widest span of the Sea of Galilee. To avoid swimming against strong afternoon gales, he swam at night beneath a starless sky.

Welzein’s escort team monitored his progress by boat and provided sustenance to keep him energized. He launched from a beach near Magdala at 9:30 p.m. and kept track of his progress with his Garmin GPS. It vibrated at each completed mile.

To Pastor Welzein his undertaking carried great significance. Jesus had walked upon these waters. Christ had flattened a raging storm here and performed healing miracles on its shores.

Welzein crossed to the eastern bank in about six hours. He spent just eight minutes on the beach before wading into the sea again for his return leg to the western shore.

Oddly, by 5:30 a.m., Welzein’s GPS ceased to vibrate at expected one-mile intervals. A yellowish curtain descended over the lake, obscuring the western shoreline, and his support team reported that their GPSes were malfunctioning, too.

Welzein swam inside what appeared to be a massive dome of dust covering the Sea of Galilee, and he and his escort team could only “guess” at his heading. Once, a couple of jet skiers approached, apparently lost, and no one on Welzein’s escort boat could help them — they were lost too.

A “Sharav” had invaded Israel. In this bizarre atmospheric (data-scrambling) phenomenon, hot winds carry dry air, sand, and dust across the country. This was the longest-lasting Sharav in 70 years, and Welzein described his discouragement as he swam: “I felt like I was in a football game where the goal post was constantly being moved,” he said.

It took all Welzein’s fortitude to push through his gloom of impending failure. Hour after hour Welzein kept on swimming…

When word of his dilemma reached well-wishers on the western beach, headlights suddenly penetrated the dirty brown haze. An elated Welzein adjusted his course according to the car lights — relieved that his destination lay less than a half-mile away!

With a time of six hours for his first trip, and nearly 12 hours for his return trip across the Sea of Galilee, Welzein completed his open water swim with the time of a little over 18 hours.

Like Pastor Welzein, we recognize that every passing moment brings us closer to our finish line. Our destination remains immovable — fixed within God’s sovereignty.

God knows “how many months we will live, and we are not given a minute longer.” (Job 14:5 NLT)

Today, if you flounder in a fearful “Sharav” of circumstances, ask Jesus to shine his light to clarify your direction — for he is THE WAY.  

Let the Apostle Paul’s words echo in your heart: “…our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed.” (Romans 13:11)

THE WAY is our Guide, Escort, Protector, Rescuer and Redeemer.


Before the stroke of eternity, ask yourself:

What is important?

What is precious?

What is needed?

And keep swimming…


LORD, remind me how brief my time on earth will be. Remind me that my days are numbered—how fleeting my life is. You have made my life no longer than the width of my hand. My entire lifetime is just a moment to you; at best, each of us is but a breath. We are merely moving shadows, and all our busy rushing ends in nothing. We heap up wealth, not knowing who will spend it. And so, Lord, where do I put my hope? My only hope is in you. (Psalm 39: 4-7 NLT)


Look here, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we are going to a certain town and will stay there a year. We will do business there and make a profit.” How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone. What you ought to say is, “If the Lord wants us to, we will live and do this or that.” (James 4:13-15)

You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed. (Psa. 139:16)

O teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom. (Psa. 90:12)

No matter how life-altering a “Sharav” appears to be, it can never obscure the Light shining bright upon the shores of our destination.

May we affirm to our families like Jacob did at his finish line: “God has been my Shepherd all my life, to this very day…” (Gen. 48:15)

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