The tale of Noah's Ark is one of the most popular and well-known episodes in the Bible. A Dutch carpenter built a full-size replica of the boat, complete with wooden animals, and it looks amazing.
An Epic Adventure From The Bible
Most of us are familiar with the biblical story of Noah's Ark. A man sees a flood in his dreams and builds a massive boat to save his family and a mating couple of each animal on Earth.
Although people think him crazy, Noah goes ahead with his plan, sure that God sent him a clear message. He is later proven right and when rain hits hard, the boat and the people on it are the only survivors.
It does not come as a surprise that such an exciting, adventure-filled tale would inspire people. In the Netherlands, a man followed Noah's example and put together a real-life Ark.
It All Started With A Dream
In 1993, Dutch carpenter Johan Huibers dreamt of a flood destroying his native Netherlands. Just as Noah in the Bible, he then got the idea of building a huge boat.
Later, in 2004, he started working on a boat made of Swedish pine wood. The project took him three years to complete and cost him more than a million dollars.
Even though this first Ark was just half the size of the biblical original, he had a plan. He would use the revenue from paying visitors to build a bigger, better one.
Closely following the instructions that God gave Noah in the Bible, Johan completed an Ark that is 95 feet wide, 410 feet long, and weighs 2,500 tons. The huge boat can fit 5,000 people at one time.
The project was completed in 2012 for a cost of $1.6 million. The result is nothing short of stunning.
On top of its awe-inspiring size, the boat is completed with impressive details. There are even wooden sculptures of elephants, rhinos, jaguars, and a giraffe!
For a time, the Ark replica attracted big numbers of tourists. Delighted, Johan said:
"The people in the Netherlands have to be reached by the Gospel. That is the aim of the 'Ark.' In the past, most people went to church and heard the Word on Sundays. Now they don't go to church anymore, so to reach them, God uses other means."
Closed To The Public
Sadly, because of some disagreements between Johan and the local authorities, the boat is no longer accessible to visitors. The wonderful work of carpentry is stuck in Dordrecht, Netherlands, Johan's hometown.
For safety concerns, Johan was also not able to sail the boat to the 2016 Rio Olympics, as he wished to. However, he still has one dream: to take the Ark across the sea to Israel.
The new challenge would need some extra work, including rented tug boats to move the boat to its destination. This would cost $1.3 million, and Johan is looking for donations in the hope to make it happen. He declared that his
"[...] preferred destination for the Ark is Israel. This is a copy of God's ship. It only makes sense to take it to God's land."
An Inspiring Story
Whether or not one believes in the teachings of the Bible, Johan's achievements are difficult to ignore. Through hard work and determination, he managed to reach people with his message:
"And I point out, at the same time, that it's clear to all that things are not going well with society today. Things need to change, just as in the days of Noah."
Maybe, feeling a renewed sense of wonder is the biggest gift we got from Johan's Ark.