Spotlight on Israel: Tabgha
Tabgha is a beautiful area in the north-western shore of Israel, and it is also of historical importance to Christians across the world. If you are visiting the Middle East this year, be sure to stop by this lovely region, and learn a little interesting history while you do.
Tabgha in the Text
According to Matthew 14, Tabgha was a luscious garden that was miraculously able to house and feed five thousand people. Jesus managed this feat with just five loaves of bread and two solitary fish. This historical occurrence was named the Miracle of the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fishes (in Mark 6). Interestingly enough, Tabgha is also cited as the location where Jesus was resurrected for the fourth time.
Tabgha in History
Tabgha is called Ein Sheva in Hebrew which means spring of the seven, and it has several springs running forth from this location. In the fifth century, the Church of the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fishes was built in this area and is best known for its beautiful mosaic artwork of the loaves, fish, and water cisterns where the spring water was collected. Though the church was destroyed by the Persians in the sixth century, the mosaics were saved later in the 1930’s and the church was reconstructed in the 1980s. There is also the Church of St. Peter’s Primacy to be visited in Tabgha.
- The waters from the seven springs were warmer than usual, producing rich, algae-filled water. This brought fish to the area, making Tabgha a hot spot for fishermen for thousands of years.
- According to tradition, Jesus met Simon, Andrew, Peter, John, and James on this sea shore, and called out to them to follow him.
- The fish in the mosaics were inaccurately drawn, as none of the fish in this area have two dorsal fins, as do the ones in the depiction.
Christians who were raised hearing the stories of Jesus, his resurrections, and his valiant escapades will find a comforting hint of familiarity in the area. Don’t forget to visit these other prominent Christian sites the next time you’re in Israel.