Tag Archives: Tabgha


More from Jim…



We are walking the Jesus Trail in Israel — from Nazareth to Capernaum.


We arrive in Tabgha, where many important events occurred: (1) Jesus called his first apostles (Mark 1:16-20) (2) Jesus gave the Sermon on the Mount (Mark 5:1) (3) Jesus healed a leper (Mark 8:1-4)(4) Miracle of the multiplication of the loaves and fishes (Mark 6:30-44) (5) Jesus walked on water (Mark 6: 45-57) (6) Jesus met his disciples after his resurrection (John 21: 1-14) (7) Jesus’ appearance to 500 (1 Cor. 15:6)

In Tabgha, we see the first sign for Capernaum, our ultimate destination, the location of St. Peter’s house and the Orthodox Church of Capernaum.

There were probably two separate events where Jesus fed a large crowd with a small amount of food. In Tabgha, the miracle is termed the “Feeding of the 5000.”


Jesus was teaching a large crowd in a place where there was…

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Tabgha to Capernaum, Israel

1/26 – Down the road from the Church of the Multiplication, is the Church of the Primacy of St. Peter.


Here, The Franciscans built a church in 1933 to mark the place where Jesus told Peter to “feed my sheep.”


It is right on the Galilean shore.


This church also has a big rock where Jesus is thought to have blessed the loaves and fishes.


There was an Asian group conducting a mass in one of the outdoor chapels. We listened to them sing as we gazed at the shore.


From here we hiked up a big hill to reach the Church of the Beatitudes, where Jesus delivered his Sermon on the Mount. We could imagine the hill filled with people as we climbed in the morning sun.

This was very small church jam-packed with tour groups, surrounded by a contemplative garden. The nuns also run a guest house here.

We tramped back down the hill, cutting through farmers fields and hopping over a barbed wire fence to get back to the main road. Now to walk to Capernaum.

Capernaum, pronounced Cap-har-NAY-um by the locals, is not a town, but another ruin with monuments.image

Here, a house believed to belong to Peter is preserved under a very modern church that looks like a UFO.image


You can see the excavation under the glass floor of the church, and from the outside. This particular house was maintained much longer than the other houses nearby, and had many oil lamps, which could mean it was used as a meeting or worship space instead of a dwelling. That’s why it is believed to be Peter’s house.

There is also a reconstruction of a large ancient synagogue here, where Jesus is said to have preached.

Our last hike of the day is to the pink-domed Greek Orthodox Church of the Twelve Apostles. image

There are peacocks in the yard, and beautiful old trees.

Inside, a repeating chorus of Hallelujahs surround us as we took in the frescos on the walls and ceilings.

A fitting end to a wonderful day.

Nothing to hold

From Jim…


We leave the Arbel Guesthouse to walk to Tabgha, Israel, continuing our hike on the 40 mile Jesus Trail.


We pass the ruins of the Roman/Byzantine Synagogue of Ancient Arbel, one of the oldest synagogues in the world. The synagogue door, carved from a massive natural limestone outcropping, still stands.


The synagogue has a view of the Arbel Valley, where, according to one Jewish tradition, the Messiah will appear.

We take the Gospel Trail through the valley rather than walk down the steep Arbel cliffs.

We encounter many cows along the trail.

There are caves in the hillsides. The ancient historian Josephus (39/40 BC) tells of Herod the Great rooting out Hasmonian rebels from these caves by lowering soldiers in baskets, killing resisters, and building fires in the cave openings. Although Herod offered terms of surrender, the rebels chose suicide. Josephus tells of one old man, father of seven children…

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Moshav Arbel to Tabgha, Israel

1/25 – So sorry I didn’t get a pic of our wonderful supper last night – we were too busy eating. Here’s a small part of what we were served for breakfast, including a baked tomato omelette, fruit, cheese, homemade bread, warm marmalade, muffins, avocado, tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, olives, candied citrus, a fruit smoothie, herbal tea and coffee with whipped cream. Ate ’til we were stuffed again, and then made sandwiches for lunch. Bravo Israel!


Back on the trail, we came upon the ruins of an ancient synagogue, discovered in 1905.


We walk near the cliffs of Arbel, and can see the Sea of Galilee in the distance.


There are caves in the cliffs where bandits lived in Jesus’ time. King Herod had to send troops to get them out of the caves, so travelers could proceed unmolested.

We met a young German girl named Mieke, who was also following the Jesus Trail. She became our companion for the day.image

We also met some baby goats, out for a stroll with no one to mind them.


…some horses, up close and personal.


And, of course, some mama cows and baby cows.

We walked through groves of citrus (the grapefruit was yummy), carob, olives and bananas.



By mid-afternoon we arrived at Tabgha, which is a variation of the Greek name Heptapegon, meaning Seven Springs. We are staying at the Karei Desche Guest house and Youth Hostel, right on the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee, which is not actually a sea, but a lake. There are teenagers everywhere.

There is no actual town here, just the historical sites and ruins. This is the place where Jesus fed 5000 with five loaves of bread and two fish. A church was built at the site in the 3rd century. The church was destroyed in the 5th century, and the remains excavated in the 1930s. This new church was built over the site in 1982.



A mosaic of loaves and fishes was excavated next to a large rock, believed to be the place where Jesus blessed the food. You can see the top of the exposed rock and the mosaic under the altar. image

Here’s more mosaic from the original church floor. Lots of bird images. I’m partial to mosaics…

Nearby we found Job’s Spring, a sulfuric spring of warm water that cascades into the Galilee. Job was said to live in a nearby cave and bathed in the waters of the spring to soothe his sores.

To be continued…