Cana of Galilee is where Jesus performed His first public miracle—turning water into wine. It is also the location of Jesus’ second miracle in Galilee (healing the nobleman’s son from 18 miles [30 km.] away), as well as the hometown of Jesus’ disciple Nathaniel. These events mark Cana as a noteworthy town in the life and ministry of Jesus. We can learn from the fact that Jesus chose to begin His public ministry in this small town, before few people, with a quiet act that went unnoticed by many at the time.
Where is Cana of Galilee?
Cana’s exact location is unknown. There are multiple places that have been commemorated and traditionally held as the location of Cana. However, two locations boast superior evidence: Kefar Kenna (Kefr Kenna) marked below in blue and Khirbet Kana (Khirbet Qana) marked in red.
Kefar Kenna is the most traditionally commemorated site for Jesus’ water-to-wine miracle. It is an Arab town located roughly 3 miles (5 km.) northeast of Nazareth, towards Tiberius; the majority of tourists are taken to this location. The Franciscan Wedding Church here holds that the 1st century ruins found underneath give evidence for an earlier place of worship. The Franciscans have been here since 1641, and their current church was completed in 1883. There is also record of Helena, Constantine’s mother, building a church in Cana in the 4th century, which was supposedly identified in Kefar Kenna by travelers in the 17th century.
When visiting Kefar Kenna and the Franciscan Wedding Church, make sure to stop by one of the local shops selling “Cana Wedding Wine.” The shopkeepers provide small free samples of the sweet wine, and tradition says that one will marry within a year of drinking it.
Khirbet Kana consists of the remnants of a 1st-century AD Jewish town atop a small hill. It is a recent find that many modern scholars believe is Cana of Galilee. Second Temple period tombs, houses, and potentially a synagogue were found onsite, making this location a good candidate.
This ancient town overlooks the Beit Netofa Valley; it is located 8 miles (13 km.) northwest of Nazareth and 5.6 miles (9 km.) north of Kefar Kanna. To get there, one must walk or drive on a bumpy dirt road and scale the 330-foot (100 m.) hill from any direction. The trek is not easy, but worth it if you desire to see the potential town where Jesus turned water into wine.