For centuries, archaeologists felt certain they knew where Jesus completed His first recorded miracle — transforming water into wine at a wedding. However, recent excavations have many questioning this location tourists have been visiting for years. Due to new research, archaeologists now believe the real site of this memorable miracle is situated on a hillside five miles north of the originally discovered location in Israel.
Scriptural reference to the wedding Jesus attended is found in John 2 1-12. At this celebration in the Biblical location of Cana, the supply of wine ran out. When Jesus’s mother found out about the situation, she told her son, “They have no wine.” Jesus replied to her, “Woman, what does this have to do with me? My hour has not yet come.” Despite Jesus’ protest, his mother told the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” Jesus instructed the servants to fill six stone jars with water before telling them to take some of the contents of one of the jars to the master of the feast. After tasting the wine, the master of the feast told the Bridegroom, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and when people have drunk freely, then the poor wine. But you have kept the good wine until now.”
At the new excavation site, an altar and a shelf consisting of the remains of a stone vessel, similar to the Biblical ones that would have been utilized to store wine in, were found. Dr. Tom McCollough directed the digging at the new location. In an interview with the Daily Mail, McCollough noted that three other credible prospective locations for Biblical Cana exist, but said, “none has the ensemble of evidence that makes such a persuasive case for Khirbet Qana.” He went on to add, “The pilgrim texts we have from this period that describe what pilgrims did and saw when they came to Cana of Galilee match very closely what we have exposed as the veneration complex.”
To strengthen his claims, McCollough cites the writings of Flavius Josephus, a first century Jewish historian. He said the historian’s body of work consists of mentions of Cana that “align geographically with the location of Khirbet Qana and align logically with his movements.” McCollough explained, “The reference to Cana in Josephus, the New Testament and in the rabbinic texts would argue the village was a Jewish village, near the Sea of Galilee and in the region of lower Galilee. Khirbet Qana fulfills all of these criteria.” The researcher feels the excavations at Khirbet Qana might end up giving validity to the historicity of the Gospel of John.
McCollough told the Daily Mail, “Our excavations have shown that this was in fact a thriving Jewish village located in the heart of much of Jesus’ life and ministry.” The researcher added, “For the Gospel of John, Cana is in some ways, Jesus’ safe place or operational centre. It is a place he and his disciples return to when they encounter resistance in Judea. I would argue our excavations warrant at least a reconsideration of the historical value of John’s references to Cana and Jesus.”
Cana isn’t the only Biblical city that’s been in the news recently. In July of 2018, Israeli authorities reported that excavators in the Golan Heights, Southern Syria, discovered the remains of a brick gate. The finds were once part of the ancient settlement of Zer. In the Bible, Zer is referred to as Bethsaida. In Scripture, Bethsaida is the location where Jesus healed a blind man before telling him not to go back to the city. This is also the place where Jesus fed a crowd of 5,000 people with only two fish and five loaves of bread.
~ 1776 Christian