Cana of Galilee is where the first miracle of Jesus — turning water into wine — occurred (John 2:1-11). Where is the “real” Cana of Galilee? There are two out of five possible sites for Cana that I would like to suggest here:
- One is the long traditional sites is called Kafr Kanna. It is a modern town nowadays. It is only five miles north of Nazareth, an hour’s walk. However, this town was identified as a biblical Cana only in the mid 17th century. It may have been chosen because it was more approachable for pilgrims and tourists.
- The recent historical and archaeological evidence suggests that Khirbet Qanah, a Jewish village between the years of 323 BCE and 324 CE, is the actual location of this first miracle. It is 8 miles northwest of Nazareth and 12 miles west of the Sea of Galilee. It is high on a hill overlooking the Bet Netofa valley. An archaeologist, Dr. Tom McCollough, who carried on the work of the late Professor Doug Edwards in 1998, excavated the site and found a mysterious cave (an unearthed tunnel) with some artifacts to indicate that the real Cana may be in here Khirbet Qanah.
Miracle at Cana
John 2:1-11 “2 On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there; 2 and both Jesus and His disciples were invited to the wedding. 3 When the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus said to Him, ‘They have no wine.’ 4 And Jesus said to her, ‘What business do you have with Me, woman? My hour has not yet come.’ 5 His mother *said to the servants, ‘Whatever He tells you, do it.’ 6 Now there were six stone water pots standing there for the Jewish custom of purification, containing two or three measures each. 7 Jesus said to them, ‘Fill the water pots with water.’ So they filled them up to the brim. 8 And He said to them, ‘Draw some out now and take it to the head waiter.’ And they took it to him. 9 Now when the head waiter tasted the water which had become wine, and did not know where it came from (but the servants who had drawn the water knew), the headwaiter called the groom, 10 and said to him, ‘Every man serves the good wine first, and when the guests are drunk, then he serves the poorer wine; but you have kept the good wine until now.’ 11 Jesus did this, the first of his signs, in Cana of Galilee, and revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.”
The actual Cana is an uninhabited location right now. The hill is so steep and there is no paved road to go up to the site. No wonder this archeological site has not been fully excavated yet and the site and findings are still untouched after the excavation by Dr Tom McCollough. This place is just a treasure gem of archaeology.
*Photo was contributed by Dr. Rasmussen.
Besides the strenuous walk, the hill is full of thorns which are absolutely unbearable. I wore long pants, but still I felt a needle poking through my pants. It was so painful!
top of the hill
The painful journey paid off after reaching the top of the hill. I looked toward Nazareth and it seemed not far away; it is definitely reachable by walking.
a mysterious cave
According to Dr McCollough, a mysterious cave is located on the slope toward the south. The cave they found has Greek inscriptions that say “Lord Jesus,” a prayer altar with Byzantine style Maltese crosses carved on it, and two broken stone jars with spaces for four more that may have sat there to commemorate the miracle of Jesus. These artifacts dated back to the 5th century, which means they don’t belong to Jesus’ time, but to the Byzantine time when believers chose this location to serve as the commemorative spot where Jesus turned water into wine.
Pieces of water vessels similar to those used in biblical times were found in the cave. When the archaeologist finished excavating, they closed it with a metal grill to block the entry to the cave. This cave was right under a fig tree but now the fig tree has grown to cover the entrance.
The site has many pottery shards, water cisterns as shown in this picture, and ritual baths that have been laying there untouched for centuries.
a little help
Since the slope is steep and rocky, I did not want to fall down, so I prayed for my Lord to give me a staff which was thick and tall enough to support me on the walk down the hill. Right after the prayer, I found a three foot tall branch right in front of my eyes, and it was tall enough for my height and strong enough to support my body. Thank you, my Lord Jesus, for your protection and provision – just as you provided wine in the wedding feast at the same location two thousand years ago.