The city of Magdala or in modern times called Migdal is situated on Lake Gennesaret or Sea of Galilee. It is approximately four miles from Tiberias and in Aramaic it means fortress or tower.
Magdala in ancient times was a port city and a bustling, prosperous one at that. It is said in its hay-day Magdala’s economy was largely driven by two things; boat building and fish salting. No doubt its thriving fish salting business at the time must have enjoyed exporting its wares as far afield as Europe or perhaps even beyond.
During 1971 through to 1974 the ancient city was excavated. To this day what has been discovered; drive many year after year to this magnificent place. Imagine mosaic floors, paved roadways, water reservoirs and canals, bath complexes, villas, a stadium and a synagogue.
You might brush off all these sites as typical of most places in ancient times but what really sets all these things apart are the fact that Jesus actually came to Magdala. So sitting on the stone benches in what is left of the ancient synagogue might as well be as you standing in Jesus shoes.
To confirm the fact that the city was doing very well economically at the time, archeologists also discovered ceramic crockery, perfume jars, jewelry, hair brushes and bronze applicators.
Can you picture yourself hearing about Jesus impending arrival? No doubt you would have visited one of the bath complexes and cleaned yourself up. Picture yourself deciding which garment to wear, apply oil to your hair and perfume. When the time came you would make your way along the paved roads glancing briefly at the mosaics and admiring their beauty.
Arriving at the synagogue you would be seated on the stone benches and patiently waiting to hear Jesus preach for the very first time. It is believed that Jesus traveled to many synagogues in the region to spread his teachings.
After a particularly dry season the sea retreated somewhat and led to a further discovery – a fisherman’s boat. The boat was uncovered and restored and found to still have its sails and oars.
Even though some of the archeological findings from Magdala now sit in various museums across the region, a visit to this place is still worth your while.
From a spiritual perspective it doesn’t get more real than to walk in Jesus shoes as it were.
Magdala is also the birthplace of Mary Magdalene. Although there might not be any biblical proof of that it is often said that it is here that Mary Magdalene lived as a wealthy women. Mary was privileged enough to witness the death and resurrection of Jesus and he even cured her of seven demons and she was a faithful follower of his.
I often wonder if this beautiful place would have any modern day significance if it wasn’t for Jesus and Mary Magdalene.
Next time you planning a trip to Israel; try and make a concerted effort to check out Magdala.