By Aaron Earls
While they didn’t find any baskets of food, archaeologists believe they have evidence to reveal the location of one of Jesus’ most famous miracles.
According to The Jerusalem Post, a group of 20 archaeologists connected with Hebrew Union College in Jerusalem uncovered what they assert is the ancient city of Bethsaida, as it is known in the New Testament, or Zer, as it was called in the Old Testament.
Luke 9:10 says when Jesus heard about the execution of John the Baptist, he “withdrew privately to a town called Bethsaida.” The crowds still followed him there, so he spent the day preaching and healing.
But as the day drew to a close, the disciples told Jesus to dismiss the crowd of 5,000 men in addition to the women and children so the people could go find something to eat and somewhere to stay for the night.
In response to the needs of the people, Jesus used five loaves and two fish to feed the huge crowd with enough leftovers to fill 12 baskets.
Many have thought the site in the Golan Heights area of Israel was the location of Bethsaida. But the area is more than a mile away from the Sea of Galilee, and the town was known for fishing.
However, the gate recently discovered by archaeologists lead them to believe they have found Bethsaida/Zer.
They say the size, wealth, and impressive nature of the gate indicate a significant city.
“There are not many gates in this country from this period,” Dr. Rami Arva, director of the Bethsaida Project told the Post. “Bethsaida was the name of the city during the Second Temple period, but during the First Temple period it was the city of Zer.”
He referenced Joshua 19:35 that lists Zer as one of the fortified cities of the tribe of Naphtali.
In order to explain the discrepancy between the description of the city in the past being near the water and its current location, some have theorized that the sea rose much higher then than today.
The site also has recently revealed other important archaeological discoveries, including beads, jugs, house keys, a Roman shield, and a coin dated to 35 B.C. that was minted in modern-day Acre, Israel, on the occasion of the arrival of Cleopatra and Marc Antony.
Several years ago, archaeologists found a gold coin there bearing the image of the Roman Emperor Antoninus Pius, who reigned from 138 to 161 A.D.
All of the discoveries, especially those connected to the New Testament have locals hopeful that visitors will come explore the area.
“I am amazed each time by the arrival of thousands of evangelical visitors to Bethsaida,” Avi Lieberman, director of the Jordan Park in which Bethsaida is located, told The Post.
“I am confident that the latest discoveries will bring more visitors to the park from around the world and from Israel.”
- Ancient Ritual Bath Discovered Near John the Baptist’s Hometown
- Did Naked Mole Rats Prove the Existence of King David?
- Archaeologists May Have Found the Prophet Isaiah’s Signature
- ISIS Accidentally Corroborates the Bible
AARON EARLS (@WardrobeDoor) is online editor of Facts & Trends.