Cana of Galilee (John 2)

John is the only New Testament writer who mentioned Cana of Galilee, and he only hinted at its location. The fact that Jesus’ family had friends or relatives and were able to attend a wedding there suggests that Cana was not too far from Nazareth. In addition, John 4:46-54 implies that the trip from Cana to Capernaum required somewhat more than a half day’s journey.

Christian pilgrims have long associated Cana with the village of Kefr Kenna located about 6,5 km northeast of Nazareth. This is probably incorrect, notwithstanding the presence there of churches claiming to preserve the tradition of the miracle at the wedding. Today most scholars agree that Khirbet Qana, located about 14,5 km north of Nazareth and just north of the Beit Netofa Valley, is the more likely candidate (although both Kefr Kenna and Khirbet Qana meet the requirements of John’s Gospel).

Excavations at Khirbet Qana began in 1998. Remains have been found from the Neolithic period through to the modern period, but most physical evidence (pottery, coins and housing remains) dates from the Roman through the Byzantine periods. Remains of what could have been a first century synagogue (although this has not yet been firmly established) have also been found, along with a miqveh (a pool for Jewish ritual cleansing). Cisterns held water for the village since there appears to have been no aqueduct. John 2:6 mentions that water was stored in large stone jars. Archaeology is not likely to provide decisive proof that Khirbet Qana was Canaof Galilee, but even the prospect of uncovering artifacts there that existed when Jesus worked His first miracle is profoundly exciting.

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