The Pilgrimage: Israel Part Fourteen

Bethsaida was the home of Peter, and Andrew, and Philip. It is today an important archaeological site dug by Rami Arav and company. But before we got there we had some lunch at St. Pete’s restaurant, and when we left we discovered a hyrax climbing a tree…an interesting critter to say the least. Imagine a ground hog out on a limb…

It’s amazing the lengths some will go to have a tasty bit of lunch…

Just to review here is a map to show you where Bethsaida is, right at the northernmost point of the Sea of Galilee,,,

What is of prime concern for NT students is the excavation of the rather large fisherman’s house and the large wine-maker’s house. Here are depictions of what they would have looked like.

What is important is to recognize that in terms of social position and standing both fishermen and wine-makers could do quite well in their chosen professions. The fisherman’s house has: 1) a gigantic courtyard (where they found fish hooks etc.); 2) a separate kitchen facility at the back of the property; 3) living quarters for a considerable number of people; 4) a fenced in compound. The same can be said for the wine-maker’s compound. Here’s the sign for that…

Of course it is difficult to know what one is looking at unless one is a trained archaeologist, but in this case there can be no doubt that the unknown fisherman was doing very well indeed. And in view of the giant fish factory found just down the road at Migdal, there is reason to believe that we have been thinking much too small when we think of Jesus’ fishing friends. They probably were not like ole Joe out on the lake fishing by himself. They were probably running considerable family businesses, as is suggested when we hear that when the Zebedees chose to follow Jesus, they left the family business in their father’s hands, along with his workers. I’m going to go out on a limb (with the hyrax) and say that when Peter said to Jesus, look how much we gave up to come and follow you he wasn’t kidding, and when Jesus replies that they will be more than compensated in the kingdom, Peter wasn’t being told he would get a new fishing pole in the kingdom.