Front Cover Illustration
WADI ARBEL. Photo: John Chesney
The ancient village of Khirbet Hamam was located on a steep slope of the Nitai Mountain above the Wadi Arbel, which is captured in our stunning cover picture. It is about two miles west of the Sea of Galilee, and was one of the largest villages in Eastern Galilee during the Roman occupation of Israel. The Wadi Arbel formed part of the earliest travel route that existed between Jerusalem and Galilee. The site was first discovered by archaeologists in 2007, and subsequent excavations have brought to light the remains of one of the largest and best preserved synagogues in Galilee as well as suggesting that, in its day, it was the location of a thriving olive oil industry. Interestingly, within the synagogue complex itself, a mosaic floor has been unearthed depicting a series of artisans busy at work on what could possibly have been Solomon’s Temple. This was the likely travel route that the Lord would have often taken during His lifetime, and the disciples probably passed here on their way to the Sea of Galilee as they obeyed the words of the angel to find their risen Lord, who had gone before them into Galilee, Mark 16. 7. Mark provides little more than this peremptory summons, but John narrates the subsequent scene for us as our Lord appears to His disciples by the Sea of Tiberias, John 21. 1-23. Whatever depiction might have been seen in the synagogue at Wadi Arbel, John points us to the fulfilment of prophecy in that the temple that had once been destroyed had now been raised again after three days, John 2. 19. What an experience it must have been for those early disciples as they took that journey along this ancient travel route to find their risen Lord, John 21. 1.