Archaeologists discover synagogue where Jesus may have preached
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Archaeologists digging in Israel think they may have found a synagogue where Jesus preached near the shore of the Sea of Galilee. Excavations are ongoing and yielding some tantalizing finds.
LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - According to scriptures, Jesus preached in synagogues near the Sea of Galilee. So far, the only synagogue discovered near the Sea of Galilee, is the one archaeologists are excavating in what was the town of Magdala, Israel.
The ancient synagogue was discovered after Fr. Juan Solana purchased some land on which to build a Christian retreat. Required to excavate before construction, excavators soon found hewn stone under the ground. Removing more and more earth, archaeologists quickly realized they had found something special, even ornate.
The site is 2,000 years old, placing it squarely in the time of Christ. It is also in the heart of Magdala, the town where Mary Magdalene lived.
What they discovered was an ornate synagogue. Walls were painted with frescoes and ornate carvings decorated the stonework. An alter stone was found with a menorah carved into it.
Excavators are finding coins and pottery, and have begun restoring these rare artifacts.
The most interesting artifact at the entire site may be a basin where worshipers would have washed their hands before entering the synagogue. Did Jesus wash his hands in that very basin? The possibility is tantalizing to all who visit the site.
The natural baths, used for purification, still work. Cobblestone streets are still there. Did Jesus walk over those very stones? Floor mosaics have come to light, two thousand years after Jesus walked across them.
The excavation continues today and it is expected that millions of pilgrims will visit the site in the years to come.
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