Cana. It was the place where Jesus performed his first miracle, and for centuries, the exact location of this biblical village has baffled scholars.
However, a recent excavation has archaeologists believing they have found the actual location of the town, giving significant credence to the historical accuracy of the Bible.
For centuries, pilgrims to the Holy Land have made their way to the northern city of Kafr Kanna. Many believed this to be the the traditional village of Cana.
Cana is the small village where Jesus performed his first miracle of turning water into wine at a wedding. This little Jewish village would have existed between 323 BC and AD 324.
Archaeologists now believe that the actual town lies five miles further north of Kafr Kanna.
According to the Daily Star, excavations of Khirbet Qana show that this site is the actual biblical town of Cana.
The excavations shows a network of tunnels that early Christians would have used. The tunnels would have been used for worship gatherings and have been marked with crosses and references to Kyrie Iesou, which is the Greek phrase for “Lord Jesus.”
The Star also reports that the excavations show an altar and a shelf that has a “stone vessel” that was sitting on top of it.
Dr. Tom McCollough is directing the excavations and points out that there are many credible clues that point to this being the actual site of Cana. Due to the amount of Christian symbols found at the site, the early Church probably made their way here to “venerate the water-to-wine miracle.”
He told the Start, “This complex was used at the beginning of the late fifth or early 6th Century and continued to be used by pilgrims into the 12th Century Crusader period.”
“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,” he added.
McCollough then pointed to the works of Josephus, the famous Jewish historian.
He said, “His references to Cana align geographically with the location of Khirbet Qana and align logically with his movements. 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,” he added.
Additionally, McCollough says that he is skeptical of the traditional place, Kafr Kanna, as being Cana.
“When tourists visiting Israel today are taken to Cana, they are taken to Kafr Kanna. However, this site was not recognized as a pilgrimage site for those seeking Cana until the 1700s. At this point the Franciscans were managing Christian pilgrimage and facilitating easy passage rather than historical accuracy,” he said.
McCollough believes that this find helps bolster the historical accuracy of the Bible.
“I would argue our excavations warrant at least a reconsideration of the historical value of John’s references to Cana and Jesus,” he says.
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