Our last visit of the day was to Magdala. This is the site of an archeological dig which has unearthed an early synagogue as well as more remains of ancient life. It is also famous for being the city that Mary Magdalene was from.
A beautiful church (Duc In Altum: “Put out into the deep”) on the site commemorates not only Mary Magdalene but other women in Jesus’ life. Our Irish tour guide from the Magdala site (Celine Kelly) was an entertaining and passionate storyteller. She made the visit unforgettable.
She pointed out the church’s many features. The Women’s Atrium dedicated to Jesus’ women disciples has eight pillars. Seven hold inscriptions of women’s names:
Mary Magdalene (John 20:1);
Susanna and Joanna (Luke 8:3);
Mary and Martha (Luke 10:38);
Salome (Matthew 20:20, Mark 15);
Simon Peter’s mother-in-law (Matthew 8:15);
Maria Cleophas (John 19:25);
And “Aliae Multae”: “many other women” who supported Jesus – Mark 15:41.
The eighth pillar is unmarked and “stands for women of all time who love God and live by faith. Each woman can spiritually inscribe her name as a poignant reminder of her role in the history of humanity” – Magdala: Walk Where Jesus Taught booklet, p. 6,7.
The cupola includes an image of folded hands that “… signify the importance of women who accompany Jesus in the mission of extending the kingdom through prayer” – Ibid p. 7.
The church has four beautiful mosaic chapels.
And the Fishers of Men Chapel (which I missed photographing).
The main chapel has a boat-shaped altar and rests on beautiful marble (I think she said imported from Norway) that looks a lot like waves of water,
Down some stairs, is the “Encounter Chapel” which “makes use of original stones found in the excavation of the road and marketplaces near the port” – Ibid p. 14.
Here on display is another beautiful painting depicting the woman with the issue of blood touching Jesus’ clothes (Mark 5:25). Our guide told us stories of numerous healings having taken place in this chapel when people came to meditate and pray.
Our visit to Magdala was a wonderful way to end our day of sightseeing.
From Magdala we traveled by bus to Tiberias and the Kinar Hotel where we checked in, had a delicious buffet dinner, and spent the night.