Mary of Magdala (Mary Magdalen) is well known in the gospel accounts, starting from her dramatic deliverance when Jesus cast seven demons out of her (Luke 8:2), all the way to the cross and to the Lord’s resurrection which she personally witnessed (John 20:15-17). Recently, her home village of MIGDAL was unearthed on the western shore of the Sea of Galilee, becoming what many consider one of the most exciting archeological digs in the Galilee.
We know that Jesus frequented the town of Migdal as Mathew 15:39 indicates, “He sent away the multitude, got into the boat, and came to the region of Magdala.” In fact, until Tiberias was built, Magdala was the only sizeable town on the western shore of the Sea of Galilee, and was situated on the ancient trade route from Egypt to Syria serving as a commercial hub for the regional fishing industry.
We can safely assume that during one of those visits to the Migdal synagogue that Jesus met Mary, healed her of demonic oppression, and accepted her into His circle of close followers which placed her by His side all the way to the end of His earthly mission. In fact, Mary of Magdala was the very first disciple who met the resurrected Messiah and bore witness of His resurrection to the rest of the disciples (John 20:18).
While archaeologists are digging up an entire 1st century city with 12 more acres to be excavated, it is the ancient synagogue and the famous Magdala Stone that make this site such a special place for people of faith today.
It was discovered that this synagogue, one of seven Second Temple era synagogues found in Israel, was left “unmolested” after its destruction by the Romans. No byzantine chapels, newer synagogues or even mosques erected on its ruins during successive centuries. That left the floor and remaining walls intact, just as they were when Jesus taught there. Only in Magdala you can literally “walk where Jesus walked,” knowing you are stepping on the very stones He did so long ago!
The Magdala Stone, that engraved limestone block that served most probably for the reading of the Scriptures and that Jesus, no doubt, used 2,000 years ago, features the seven branched menorah along with carved images of the Jerusalem Temple. This famous Stone features the oldest menorah ever found on stone, and is rich with clues about first century Judaism and its relationship to the Jerusalem Temple.
Traveling to Magdala with one of our SAR-EL groups, your heart will swell with wonderment and excitement as the Rocks literally cry out, testifying to all who have ears to hear and eyes to see that Jesus, the Jewish Rabbi who taught in that very synagogue so long ago, is alive and well today as Israel’s Messiah King!
We’ll see you in Israel,