Capernaum (Hebrew: כפר נחום – Kefar Nahum which literally means: village of Nahum) is an ancient city in Galilee, located on the northwestern shores of Lake Tiberias (Sea of Galilee), in Israel. As the setting for New Testament stories, Capernaum was a Christian pilgrimage destination in late antiquity and became so again in the 20th century. According to the Gospels, Jesus lived there after leaving Nazareth (Matthew 4:12-17), where he began his preaching and performed numerous miracles.
The village is mentioned in the Gospel of Luke and the Gospel of John where it is said to have been near the birthplace of Simon Peter and Andrew and James and John, sons of Zebedee, as well as the publican (tax collector) Matthew.
On a biblical Sabbath, Jesus taught in the synagogue in Capernaum and healed a man who was possessed by an unclean spirit. Later he cured the fever of Simon Peter’s mother-in-law (Luke 4.31-44).
CAPERNAUM, GALILEE, PALESTINE
by John Lawson Stoddard.
The Sea of Galilee is still as blue and beautiful beneath tbe Syrian sun as when the Savior walked beside its shores or sailed upon its surface. But its surroundings are now desolate. The city of Tiberias is a most wretched unattractive town, and proud Capernaum is such a ruin that doubts are entertained as to its site!
There is no trace here now of any quay or harbor; but in the midst of a great mass of ruins rise the remains of a fine old building made of white limestone resembling marble. It must have once been an imposing edifice, for scattered there in great confusion are many ruined columns and elaborate capitals. This, it is thought, must have been the Synagogue of Capernaum. If so, within its walls the voice of Jesus was frequently heard.
The Gospels tell us of his visits to this place, and of bis prophecy of its humiliation, which certainly is startlingly verified to-day. How little did the people of Capernaum imagine, as they disdained the utterances of the Nazarene and his humble followers, that the time would come when even the situation of their city would be a matter of dispute, and, if an object of interest at all, that it would be so, merely because that gentle Teacher who addressed them had once walked its streets!
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Beyond the ruined town is the fair lake, sixteen miles long and six miles wide, bordered by undulating bills, whose rounded forms are just the same as when the gaze of Jesus rested on them, and when He uttered on their graceful slopes words which have revolutionized the world.
- Glimpses of the world; a portfolio of photographs of the marvelous works of God and man by John Lawson Stoddard (1850-1931). Chicago, R.S. Peale, 1892.
- James Tissot (French, 1836-1902). The Blind of Capernaum (Les aveugles de Capharnum), 1886-1896. Opaque watercolor over graphite on gray wove paper, Image: 10 1/2 x 5 3/8 in. (26.7 x 13.7 cm). Brooklyn Museum