Capernaum, Israel - Peter's House and The Synagogue #travel #VisitIsrael

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The next stop on our journey through Israel was the town of Capernaum. It's just east of Tabgha, along the northern coast of the Sea of Galilee, and was the home of several of Jesus' disciples. Capernaum was the center of Jesus' ministry and he taught in the synagogue there.
Just inside the gates of this excavated town is a beautiful peacock mosaic. Peacocks are indigenous to India and the Bible tells us that peacocks were brought to Israel for King Solomon:

1 Kings 10 22 For the king had at sea a navy of Tharshish with the navy of Hiram: once in three years came the navy of Tharshish, bringing gold, and silver, ivory, and apes, and peacocks.

The ends of a peacock's feathers look like an eye, and are believed to represent the all-seeing eye of God. Peacocks were also a symbol of eternal life in the ancient middle east.
Excavations in Capernaum have revealed the house of Simon Peter, the beloved disciple of Jesus. Below, you can see the innermost circular wall, which is the original house. It is the place Jesus called home when he was in Capernaum. It's also the site where followers of Jesus lowered a paralyzed man through the roof to be healed.

Mark 2 1 A few days later, when Jesus again entered Capernaum, the people heard that he had come home. 2 They gathered in such large numbers that there was no room left, not even outside the door, and he preached the word to them. 3 Some men came, bringing to him a paralyzed man, carried by four of them. 4 Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus by digging through it and then lowered the mat the man was lying on. 5 When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralyzed man, “Son, your sins are forgiven.”
Around the home of Peter are more walls, octagonal in shape, that were built later. I tried to get a few pictures that show the outer walls.
Above Peter's house now stands a modern church, called the Church of Saint Peter's House. At the top of my photos, you can see gray beams, and those are the bottom of the modern church.
Notice, too, the difference in the ways walls were constructed. The earliest walls use smaller and rounder stones, while the later walls are made with larger and more squared stones.
Some of the original walls were fortified and made taller, as shown in the photo above.
The mosaic floors, below, were also excavated at the site.
I snapped a picture of the informational plaque at the site that shows how the area changed over centuries of use. The little circle in the middle depicts Peter's house.
The Book of Matthew tells us that Jesus came to Capernaum shortly after he was tempted by the devil in the wilderness.

Matthew 4 13 And leaving Nazareth, he came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is upon the sea coast, in the borders of Zabulon and Nephthalim

There he began teaching and gathering his disciples.

Matthew 4 17 From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. 18 And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. 19 And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. 20 And they straightway left their nets, and followed him. 21 And going on from thence, he saw other two brethren, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in a ship with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and he called them.

Below are pictures of some of the houses in the village of Capernaum.
You can see how the houses were built using shared walls. I was amazed at how much of the town was still there!
The post in the photo above would have helped support the roof. Below is a storage vessel and its lid, found in one of the houses.
Below you can see a doorway from a house to one of the streets.
In the village is also the synagogue where Jesus taught on the Sabbath. The Book of Mark tells us that Jesus healed a possessed man in this synagogue.

Mark 1 21 And they went into Capernaum; and straightway on the sabbath day he entered into the synagogue, and taught. 22 And they were astonished at his doctrine: for he taught them as one that had authority, and not as the scribes. 23 And there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit; and he cried out, 24 Saying, Let us alone; what have we to do with thee, thou Jesus of Nazareth? art thou come to destroy us? I know thee who thou art, the Holy One of God. 25 And Jesus rebuked him, saying, Hold thy peace, and come out of him. 26 And when the unclean spirit had torn him, and cried with a loud voice, he came out of him.
That same event also appears in the Book of Luke.

Luke 4 31 And came down to Capernaum, a city of Galilee, and taught them on the sabbath days. 32 And they were astonished at his doctrine: for his word was with power. 33 And in the synagogue there was a man, which had a spirit of an unclean devil, and cried out with a loud voice, 34 Saying, Let us alone; what have we to do with thee, thou Jesus of Nazareth? art thou come to destroy us? I know thee who thou art; the Holy One of God. 35 And Jesus rebuked him, saying, Hold thy peace, and come out of him. And when the devil had thrown him in the midst, he came out of him, and hurt him not.
The foundation of the synagogue where Jesus taught was built with black basalt rock, the local rock from which the Capernaum buildings and houses were built during Jesus' time. The white limestone rock was brought in later, during the fourth century.
Below is one of the grand archways to the more-recent synagogue.
The photo below was taken in the main prayer hall. Left to right is Michal (our fabulous tour guide), Cory, me, and Erik (the journalists who were blessed with this amazing trip).
Around Capernaum, there are many displays of items found during the excavations. It's an incredibly fascinating stop on a journey through Israel! Outside the synagogue is a shaded area with lots of benches, so it's the perfect place to host a Bible study group. The weather around Galilee was simply gorgeous, even in February.
Read more about my trip to Israel HERE.
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  1. Thanks so much for sharing - great pictures and information. Sounds like an amazing trip!

    1. You're very welcome! Thanks for reading!

  2. Awesome pictures and a very inspiring place to walk.

    1. Thank you! It was one of the most incredible places I have ever been!


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