The name Capernaum means "village of Naham". We read in Matthew 4:13 that Jesus went to live in Capernaum, fulfilling the prophecy given by Isaiah. He performed many miracles around the area.
The city was situated along the International Highway and as such there is evidence of Roman troups stationed in the city.
"And when Jesus entered Capernaum, a Roman officer met Him and begged for help...." Matt. 8:5
In the midst of the Roman oppression and occupation, a Light would shine! Jesus' move from Nazareth, an isolated village, to Capernaum is nothing short of a move from the shadows and into the spotlight. What He said and did surely was carried far and wide to other lands!
Capernaum was home to the tax collector Matthew. It would have been the ideal spot for Matthew as international trade funneled south through Capernaum on the way to Egypt or north to Damascus. As our bus went through a pass, Jim pointed out the spot Matthew would have probably set up his tax booth.
Simon, later known as Peter, lived here with his family and worked as a fisherman. He was one of the first chosen by Jesus. Andrew, James and John were also from this village.
Jesus taught in the synagogue in Capernaum. Here He healed a man who had a withered hand and a man possessed by an evil spirit.
This is the synagogue. The bottom layer was made of basalt (lava) stone and was there during Jesus' lifetime. The synagogue was probably destroyed by the Romans in 68AD. The upper limestone layer is from the 2-4th century AD.
"I am the Bread of Life" Jesus said this as He taught in the synagogue here. John 6
Behind the synagogue were many millstones and grinding stones. There were many more than a village would need, so possibly it was a "factory" of sorts, where these were made.
A grinding stone
Below is the modern Church of the House of St. Peter
This church was built over the remains of what is said to be Peter and Andrew's home!
"Jesus and His disciples, including James and John, left the synagogue and went straight to the home of Simon and Andrew. Simon's mother-in-law was sick in bed with a fever, and as soon as Jesus arrived, He was told about her. He went to her, took her by the hand, and helped her up. The fever left her, and she began to wait on them." Mark 1:29-31
We were told that as it was in such close proximity to the synagogue would have meant that the family was well-to-do.
According to Luke 7, Capernaum is also mentioned as the location of the healing of the paralytic lowered through the roof to reach Jesus.
We went to ancient Katrzrin on another day and saw an excavated and reconstructed home that showed how the roof would have looked. We climbed up the back to the roof. You can see that the roof is made of dirt that is compacted on top of branches.
And here is the roof from the inside of the home. I can't imagine the mess the 4 men would have made to get their paralytic friend down to Jesus!
We had a few moments to ourselves before the bus left. Al and I went down to sit on the beach. Just to think that perhaps Jesus would have sat here too and looked out over the lake.
What is so sad is that Christ cursed the city (Matthew 11:23) because of their lack of response to His teaching. He was in their midst, showed Himself to be the Messiah and they rejected Him! And isn't God so evident in so many ways today, and people still reject Him.