Galilee Visit, part 2
Last May, we visited Magdala, a very special place on the western coastline of the Kinneret. Magdala is the hometown of Mary Magdalene and now home to a beautiful new project initiated by Father Juan Solana of the Pontifical Institute Notre Dame of Jerusalem Center.
His vision for Magdala is to highlight the ministry of Yeshua and the lives transformed by Him. Father Juan’s vision is to also honor women of faith. As well as a retreat center for bible study, worship, prayer, meditation and spiritual growth.
As construction continues, a guesthouse and restaurant will be added. The restaurant will be modeled after the Notre Dame Culinary Center in Jerusalem. If you missed my post about me teaching a culinary workshop there, you can read about it here.
Father Juan’s vision was met with a surprise. Here’s a snippet about that surprise from Magdala’s site:
“When construction began in 2009, no one could have imagined what God had in store. As workers began to dig the foundation for the guesthouse, they discovered a First Century Synagogue where it is certain that Jesus taught. Inside the synagogue they also found The Magdala Stone, a discovery many archaeologists call the most significant archaeological find in the past 50 years.
As archaeologists continued to dig, they discovered an entire first century Jewish town lying just below the surface. With only 10% of the archaeology uncovered, the hometown of Mary Magdalene already provides pilgrims an authentic location to walk where Jesus taught and to connect with the first century life of Jesus’ followers.
Magdala is a unique Holy Land site with a first century city where the Jewish residents gathered in a synagogue where Jesus visited and taught. It is home to the beautiful Duc In Altum, which provides a place for worship, mass, and prayer.
Because of its unique nature, Magdala will actively contribute to building positive relationships with the diverse community of Christian believers and between Christians and Jews. In the coming days, Magdala will feature excellent accommodations and an outstanding restaurant, in addition to an expanded archaeological park.
Magdala is truly the crossroads of Jewish and Christian history.”
Seems like God has a bigger vision which includes having us dig for the answers. Kind of like digging past the surface of the holy scriptures for the depth of understanding. In Jewish thought, this is called Sod (sode) which means secret or mystery. You have to dig to reveal it. It’s the deepest level of the PaRDes method of studying the bible. When we gloss over the surface, we often miss the greater treasure lying beneath.
This reminds me of the recent mega-discovery of the complete, 350 meter long pilgrimage path from the City of David up to the Temple in Jerusalem. What’s so funny about it, is it was discovered because of a plumbing leak just below the surface of the parking lot that was covering this incredible find. Click here for that amazing story.
There are so many mind-blowing things in Israel, especially with ongoing archaeological work that seems to unearth incredible evidence of the bible with each passing day. Who knows, pretty soon, they may dig up the Garden of Eden!
Enjoy the pics from Magdala and please visit there when you go to Israel.
Next week, I’ll share some Texas love from the Galilee.