Bethsaida

Archaeological Site in Northwestern Shore

The ruins here, inside HaYarden Park Nature Reserve (Jordan River Park), are believed to be those of the ancient fishing village of Bethsaida, where Jesus is said to have fed 5000 people with just five loaves of bread and two fish (Luke 9:10–17), walked on water (Mark 6:45–51) and healed a blind man (Mark 8:22–26) – and where he also issued a stern rebuke to the town (Luke 10:13–15).

Two walking circuits are trail-marked in black: a 500m route around the basalt ruins, which don’t look like much to the untrained eye (signs help visitors imagine the original structures); and a 1km route down to the spring and back. The site is surrounded by pre-1967 Syrian trenches and minefields.

The Bethsaida Excavations Project (www.unomaha.edu, search for 'Bethsaida'), which accepts volunteers for its summer digs, is based at the University of Nebraska at Omaha.

Bethsaida is in the far northeastern corner of the Sea of Galilee, about 6km from Capernaum. In ancient times the lake, now 2km away, probably came up to the base of the tel.