By Michael Gryboski — Originally published by Christian Today
A team of archaeologists may have located the home of three of Jesus’ disciples, found in a lost Roman imperial city off of the Sea of Galilee.
Researchers from Kinneret College believe they have found the Roman city of Julias, which was built as part of the town of Bethsaida, which is identified in John 1:44 as the hometown of Philip, Andrew, and Peter.
“A multi-layered site discovered on the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee, in the Bethsaida Valley Nature Reserve, is the spot, the team believes,” reported Haaretz on Sunday.
“The key discovery is of an advanced Roman-style bathhouse. That in and of itself indicates that there had been a city there, not just a fishing village …”
Haaretz cautioned that there are “three candidates for Julias.” There are two earlier discovered sites by Galilee in addition to the recently unearthed one, named el-Araj.
“What the archaeologists found at el-Araj is an older layer dating from the late Roman period, the first to third centuries CE, two meters below the Byzantine level. That Roman layer contained pottery sherds from the 1st to the 3rd centuries BCE, a mosaic, and the remains of the bathhouse,” continued Haaretz.
“And has a major missing church been found too? The excavators found walls with gilded glass tesserae for a mosaic, an indication of a wealthy and important church.”
Kinneret College said in a statement that it is widely believed that a church used to be on the former site of the Apostles’ home, thus adding evidence that the recent find is legitimate.
“The discovery of dozens of golden glass mosaics in the previous season and the present season attests to the fact that the church was an important and magnificent place,” stated the college, as reported by i24news.com.
“A Christian traveler of the eighth century CE notes that in the house of Tsaida the church is in honor of Peter and Andreas — two of Jesus’ apostles.”
This is not the first major find by researchers connected to Kinneret College regarding the New Testament. Last August, researchers under Motti Aviam found a first-century synagogue near Mount Tabor.
“This is the first synagogue discovered in the rural part of the Galilee and it confirms the historical information we have about the New Testament, which says that Jesus preached at synagogues in Galilean villages,” explained Aviam last year, as reported by JNS.