Posts Tagged ‘Magdala’


Box found with images found in the Temple

Magdala is a place that the student of the Apostolic writings (Newer Testament) must visit. This location offers what few places in Israel offer, namely a sight that wasn’t build over several times in the 2000 years since the ministry of Messiah Yeshua (Jesus). It offers archeological remains which were not disturbed or robbed in order to build other structures in the area. 

The most significant finds at Magdala are the two synagogues. The one pictured in this post is the first one discovered. A second synagogue was found recently and excavations have begun in that location. 

The synagogue in Magdala offers us a glimpse into the life of the Messiah Yeshua. We know from scripture that Yeshua (Jesus) taught in the synagogues around the Kinneret (Sea of Galilee). (Matthew 4:23) Thus, given that this synagogue is believed to have been in existence in the first century, it can reasonably be assumed that Yeshua taught in this synagogue. He read the scriptures from the scroll. He sat on the bench where the teacher sat. Few other places in Israel today offer such direct connection to Messiah. 

Magdala was a thriving city during the first century. It was a port city on the west coast of the Kinneret (Sea of Galilee). The city is believed, based on the archeological finds, to have been a wealthy city and Torah-observant city.

With regard to Torah observance, we find in Magdala evidence of many mikveh (ritual purity baths). These were used and continue to be used today by Torah-observant Jews as a means to ritual purity. Use of the mikveh involved immersing oneself into the mikveh and reciting certain scriptures and blessings. The land of Israel has many, many mikvaot. These testify of the strong faith culture of this city as well as the Galilee region.

The main industry in Magdala appears to have been fish processing. It is believed that fish were brought to Magdala and held in shallow pools until being salted and dried for transport and sale to locations throughout Israel and the Roman Empire.

When you visit the site, you are able to see the synagogue, the mikvaot, the pools and other remains of the industry and housing in Magdala. There is also a beautiful hotel and guest center.


Pedestal for holding Torah scroll

Ritual bath (Mikveh)

Pools for holding fish

Water channel for moving water from one location to another
Murals inside the chapel at Magdala

Chapel at Magdala

View of Mt Arbel from Magdala

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Magdala was an ancient city on the eastern shore of Lake Kinneret, several miles north of Tiberias. Today, if you visit the area, you will find the ancient city has been excavated and the ruins of the city reveal volumes of information about Jewish life in the first century in this area.

Magdala is in my top 5 favorite spots for New Testament insight. It is one of the few places in Israel where you can say with almost certainty that Jesus was here. In fact, he may have been here many times during his life and ministry. He may have even read and taught in this very synagogue.


Magdala 1st Century Synagogue


Magdala 1st Century Synagogue

As the pictures above reflect, the synagogue is largely intact. It was never built over, it appears much as it would have in the 1st century when Jesus of Nazareth would have visited and probably taught there on a Sabbath.

One of the the significant artifacts found at the site was a box (see images above) on which there were carvings of the menorah in the Temple. It was likely that there were members of the priestly family in Magdala who would have served in the Temple and been familiar with the menorah.


Mosaic on the floor of 1st Century Synagogue in Magdala


Plaster on walls with decoration from 1st Century Synagogue in Magdala


Plastering of a pillar from the 1st Century Synagogue in Magdala


Mosaic from the floor of 1st Century Synagogue in Magdala




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