People visiting the Fountain of Cana at Galilee, Israel.

Fountain, Cana, Galilee, Holy, Land, Levante, Israel, Palestine, David Roberts
The Fountain of Cana at Galilee, April 21, 1839

Cana was a historical place in Galilee in the Middle East. From the time of the Crusaders until the end of the 16th century, Chirbet Qana or Kenet-el-Jalil, located 14 km north of Nazareth, was identified with the biblical Cana in Galilee. In more recent times, this localisation is again followed for topographical and linguistic reasons.

In the New Testament, Cana is considered the setting of the wedding at Cana, which is exclusively narrated in John’s Gospel (Jn 2:1-12). In particular, it is the place where Jesus’ first miracle took place, turning a large quantity of water into wine during a wedding. The Gospel of John also mentions Cana on other occasions: as the place where Jesus was when he was asked to take care of the son of the royal official of Capernaum (4:46) and as the city of origin of Nathanael, identified with Saint Bartholomew the Apostle. However, there are no other biblical references.

Some traditions also indicate Cana as the birthplace of Simon the Zealot, one of the twelve apostles of Jesus Christ.


by David Roberts.

The whole country of Galilee possesses a solemn interest from its connexion with the earlier periods of our Lord’s human existence. The scene of his first miracle, and made conspicuous by his frequent return, and frequent displays of power and benevolence, the soil becomes eminently sacred, and the mind approaches its contemplation with the reverent solicitude and grateful homage due to the birth-place of Christianity.

The Fountain in the Sketch is traditionally the same from which the waterpots in the miracles were filled. The water is remarkably copious and pure; and as there is no other fountain within a considerable distance, the inhabitants of the village regard its sacred claim as beyond all question.

Note:  The Church of the Purification at Jerusalem. The Holy Land 1839.

The large sculptured stone near the fountain is a Roman Sarcophagus, now used as a watering-trough for cattle, a purpose for which similar relics are frequently employed in Palestine. At this Fountain the Christian pilgrims rest and taste the water, as a sanctifying ceremonial previous to their entering Cana. The women of the village are constantly seen here, in groups, bearing jars of the same material and same dimensions with those described in Holy Scripture. 1)

But the claims of the existing Cana have been strongly disputed by late and learned authority. It is contended, that the site of the village in which the miracle was performed, is Kana-el-Jelil (Cana of Galilee), a nun on the northern side of the Plain El-Buttauf; N.½E. from Nazareth, and about three hours distance. The chief reasons are its unaltered name, and its having been regarded as the true site by authorities altogether earlier than those of its competitor, and traceable up to the sixth century. 2)

1) Roberts’s Journal. 2) Biblical Researches, iii. 208.

Source: The Holy Land, Syria, Idumea, Arabia, Egypt, & Nubia, by David Roberts, George Croly, William Brockedon. London: Lithographed, printed and published by Day & Son, lithographers to the Queen. Cate Street, Lincoln’s Inn Fields, 1855.


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