Located on the shores of the Sea of Galilee, Capernaum became known as the “town of Jesus” after he came to it from Nazareth. The first church on the site was constructed in the fifth century and has since been built over.
Now, a Catholic church sits in its place, atop eight pillars that hover over an excavation site. Some archaeologists believe the site was Peter’s house, where Jesus would have sometimes stayed. They also believe that the house was part of a small complex grouped irregularly around courtyards. They suspect drystone basalt walls would support the roof, which would have been made of tree branches, straw and earth.
Authorities regard Tell Hum as the site of Capernaum. Today, visitors can see large stones, which are rumored to have been part of the synagogue that once stood in the ancient city. The ancient synagogue was 74 feet, 9 inches by 56 feet, 9 inches in size. The walls were said to have a thickness of nearly 10 feet.
Capernaum was the site where Jesus preached many times and performed numerous miracles. One such miracle was taught in John, Chapter 6. Jesus healed many people from illnesses or devil’s possession. Some of these people included Peter’s mother-in-law and the daughter of Jairus, who led the synagogue.
Capernaum eventually fell into ruin. A report released in the third century called the town despicable. Later, new people settled in the city, but then it was again fell into disrepair. Until 1838, the site remained undiscovered.
The ruins that surround people who visit are from homes, which depict ordinary life. Some, however, feature intricately decorated stone carvings and serve as a reminder of what Jesus predicted for the town.
One highlight for visitors is Peter’s house. It was here where Jesus healed Peter’s mother-in-law. He house was a simple dwelling and looks much like a majority of the other homes that archeologists found throughout the years while excavating the site. Unlike the others, however, are the inscriptions on the walls. There are about 131 in total.
Capernaum was also mentioned in Mark, 1:21-28:
21 And they went into Caperna-um; and immediately on the Sabbath he entered the synagogue and taught.
22 And they were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one who had authority, and not as the scribes.
23 And immediately there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit;
24 and he cried out, “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are, the Holy One of God.”
25 But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be silent, and come out of him!”
26 And the unclean spirit, convulsing him and crying with a loud voice, came out of him.
27 And they were all amazed, so that they questioned among themselves, saying, “What is this? A new teaching! With authority he commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him.”
28 And at once his fame spread everywhere throughout all the surrounding region of Galilee.
Capernaum Is really something else, but another fascinating place in the north of Israel is Megiddo, 2 Kings 9:27 – King Ahaziah dies while in Megiddo.