Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Sea of Galilee Fishing Ban Enforced

In the Gospel of Mark, Jesus's first words to his disciples are a little odd: "Follow me and I will make you fish for people" (1:17). Time and repetition have sapped this line of its strangeness, but even centuries later, it retains some of its original power to startle. Fish for people?

Jesus, of course, is talking to a pair of fishermen, Simon and Andrew, so his metaphor makes some sense in context. Nonetheless, I always wonder what Jesus would have said had he been addressing disciples with other jobs ...

Shepherd: "Follow me and I will make you herd people."

Carpenter: "Follow me and I will make you hammer people."

Hunter: "Follow me and I will make you throw spears at people."

Usurer: "Follow me and I will make you charge interest on loans for people."

Alright, so my joke is quickly falling apart, so I'll get to my point. If I Jesus returned today looking for contemporary Simon's and Andrew's, he wouldn't find them, because as the BBC reports today, Israel is enforcing a fishing ban on the Sea of Galilee.

For centuries, the Sea of Galilee--which is actually a freshwater lake--has been fertile fishing water. In recent years, however, fish numbers have hit all-time lows. The government cites over-fishing, but those who sail Galilee blame predatory birds like the cormorant.

Whichever is the case, the ban will remain in effect through the first months of 2012. In the meantime, perhaps Galilean fishermen may take Jesus's advice and fish for people instead ... though I don't want to imagine what kind of government ban such a trend might produce.

No comments:

Post a Comment

We here at "Eat the Bible" love your comments--please share.