A tunnel network unearthed in Israel could be the site where Christians believe Jesus performed his first miracle by turning water into wine, the U.K.’s Daily Mail reported on August 30.
Pilgrims have believed for hundreds of year that the site of the wedding miracle to be Kafr Kanna, a town in northern Israel. But archaeologists now believe the Cana of biblical times might be a hillside five miles to the north.
The Daily Mail reported that the location is the former site of Khirbet Qana, an ancient Jewish village, and excavations have uncovered a network of tunnels used for Christian worship, including an altar and a shelf hold the remains of a stone vessel with room for five more, the Daily Mail reported.
Tom McCollough, who is leading the excavations, told the publication that three other sites appear to fit the bill, but “none has the ensemble of evidence that makes such a persuasive case for Khirbet Qana.”
“We have uncovered a large Christian veneration cave complex that was used by Christian pilgrims who came to venerate the water-to-wine miracle,” he said.
Adding: “This complex was used beginning in the late fifth or early sixth century and continued to be used by pilgrims into the 12th-century Crusader period. The pilgrim texts we have from this period that describe what pilgrims did and saw when they came to Cana of Galilee match very closely what we have exposed as the veneration complex.”
McCollough points to the work of first-century Jewish historian Flavius Josephus, as part of his evidence.
“His references to Cana align geographically with the location of Khirbet Qana and align logically with his movements. The reference to Cana in Josephus, the New Testament and in the rabbinic texts would argue the village was a Jewish village, near the Sea of Galilee and in the region of lower Galilee. Khirbet Qana fulfills all of these criteria.”