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The Locality

A

DAY IN CAPERNAUM.

I.

THE LOCALITY.

O inland sea of the world is so

^ celebrated as the Lake of Genesaret. The basin which it fills owes its existence to subterranean volcanic forces still in operation. The extensive basaltic plain which cuts straight through the cretaceous mountain-land of Palestine extends to its western bank; and immediately behind the chalk hills of the eastern bank there begin again basaltic formations of immeasurable extent.* The long valley of which it forms a part lies so deep under the level of the ocean that there is scarcely a more profound depression upon the surface of the earth.f Through this valley, which, like the trenches of a fortress, divides West Palestine, the proper Canaan, (the land of Israel, in a more limited sense,) from East Palestine, flows the Jordan, descending from the foot of Lebanon, and pursuing its course through the Sea of Genesaret,

* Fraas, Aus dem Orient, p. 71. f Our author had not heard of the caflons of Colorado. — Tr.

like the Rhine through the Lake of Constance, or the Rhone through the Lake of Geneva, until it is lost farther south in the Dead Sea. It is a peculiarity of the Holy Land, that in a comparatively narrow space it combines the most diversified characters and kinds of soil, with the most singular and various aspects of landscape. The southern half of the Sea of Genesaret, that is, the western, where the comb of the mountain is less declivitous, and the vicinity of Jericho, have the climate and vegetation of a tropical country.

But which century, which historical epoch shall we choose, to make ourselves familiar with the western shore of the Sea of Genesaret? If we wander along the borders of the lake through the six hours' tour from the south to the north, where the country is still agreeable but more uniform, until we reach the mouth of the Jordan, the most interesting historical reminiscences will be called up at nearly every step we take, and it is a question by which we shall allow ourselves to be detained.

Coming from Jerusalem, and travelling up the valley of the Jordan, we meet, at the western end of the sea, where the Jordan flows out, a dam resting upon arches, which crosses a marshy soil, and the remains of a ten-arched bridge over the Jordan.* Here lay the city of Tarichia, which derives its name from its trade in salt fish.f It calls to

* Robinson, Palestine, 3, 512. Lynch's Expedition, p. 102.

f Strabo, XVI. 2, 43.

mind one of the most terrible scenes of the desperate struggle with the Romans, which terminated in the destruction of Jerusalem. In the large number of boats which the people had at their disposal, the sea offered them an apparently secure place of retreat; and on the land side, Josephus, the future historian of this war, the friend of his countrymen only in as far as he could gain renown and not endanger his life, had fortified the city to some extent. But after Titus, sent by his father Vespasian the General, had overwhelmed the undisciplined troops of Tarichia in open battle, he was the very first man who rushed into the city. It was taken by surprise without opposition, for the

inhabitants desired peace, and left the war fanatics in the lurch. But the Romans slaughtered the armed and the unarmed without distinction, and as a great number of the inhabitants had fled to their boats, and floated about upon the lake, Vespasian ordered rafts to be constructed with all possible speed, which he manned with troops. The people in the boats could not for a moment think of resistance in the regular order of battle. The stones which they threw fell harmless against the shields of the Romans. If a boat neared the rafts, it was either run down, or the Romans boarded it, and slew the fugitives. Those who attempted to escape from the sword and spear by swimming, were pierced by arrows or were run over by the rafts; if any attempted to hold on to the rafts, their heads or hands were cut off. The boats which held out the longest were surrounded, and the people in them were either drowned, or put to death, when they had reached the shore, by the troops stationed all along the banks. Josephus estimates the number of those slain in Tarichia and on the lake at 6,500. The sea was like a great pool of blood, and the shores were for a long time covered with the wrecked vessels and dead bodies, which, decomposing in the hot sun, poisoned the atmosphere.* We do not feel disposed to dwell upon the enormities of this unhappy war, in which the Jewish national pride was humbled, and the national body bled * Josephus, Wars, III. 10.

itself to death amid terrible convulsions. The history of the present times has satiated us with pictures of bloody war.

From the spot where Tarichia stood . we will enter upon the road which, running along the lake, leads downwards towards Tiberias. After we have proceeded one hour, we have before us, to the left from the edge of the shore, the celebrated warm springs of Tiberias ; * the old and new bath-house, and the arched basin from which the water from the principal spring, nearly to boiling heat, is conducted to the new bathhouse. An accurate chemical analysis has not yet been made of it; but it will no doubt establish the proximate similarity between these waters, still exten*Reland, Palsestina, p. 301.

sively used, and the alkaline sulphur springs of Aix-la-Chapelle.

The present Tobarije lies half an hour farther downwards in a narrow valley, at the foot of a range of hills here rather precipitous. The ruins which we observe, however, show that the ancient city extended nearly to the hot springs; these ruins consist of old foundations and walls and granite columns lying around, one of which is still standing. How often Tiberias has changed masters! It has been under the dominion of the Western Roman Emperors, of the Eastern Roman Emperors, of the Caliphs, of the Crusaders, of the Turks, and for a short time also of Napoleon Bonaparte; but no more terrible calamity ever befell it than on January ist, 1837, when an earthquake buried a fourth part of the inhabitants (nearly seven hundred) under the ruins of their houses. During the Roman war, the city remained unharmed; it bore the name of the emperor Tiberius. The emperor Nero had presented it to Agrippa, the king of Judea; and when Vespasian was encamped with three legions at the south end of the sea, the people abandoned the revolution, the leaders of which had until now held them in terror, and begged for mercy. Thus rescued, Tiberias was for the following centuries the chief point of all those exertions which were directed to the self-maintenance of the Jewish nationality in its moral unity and greatness. But in another respect it was the point of de-... - pression to which its former greatness sunk. The Sanhedrim had been deprived of its former place of meeting in the Temple; it wandered, as the Talmud says, from place to place, until it was finally transferred from Sepphoris, the chief town of Galilee, to the deep valley basin of Tiberias* Among the signs that were to accompany the appearance of the Messiah, was, according to the Talmud, the fact that Galilee was to be desolated, and that the waters of the Jordan flowing out of the grotto of Paneas would be changed into blood.f

* According to Lynch's measurement, the surface of the Lake of Tiberias is 612 feet below the Mediterranean, and that of the Dead Sea is 1,235 feet below it.

fSota, IX. 15. Sanhedrim, 97a.

When the Romans advanced to the siege of Jerusalem, they had already overthrown Galilee and changed it into a heap of dead bodies and ruins. The sign had been realized; but Judaism, notwithstanding, transferred the hope of the Messiah to the future, and associated it with Tiberias. From Tiberias, they said, will the redemption of Israel proceed; in Tiberias will the great Court of Judgment be re-established and emigrate to the Temple; in Tiberias the resurrection of the dead will occur forty days earlier than anywhere else. The abundance of events and legends which Tiberias presents to us might tempt us to halt at that city. The Sea of Genesaret, which is regarded as the one chosen of God out of the seven lakes of the Holy Land,* has been named after this city, the Lake of Tiberias. But we are constrained to proceed farther. Farewell, Tiberias schetoba reifathah, whose aspect is beautiful as thy name imports.-)Neither the tomb of Zippora, the daughter of Jethro, nor the grave of Rabbi Akiba, — nor all thy celebrated groves can detain us. We wander farther to seek life among the living, and not among the dead.

The road farther upwards from the sea now leads from the low grounds of

*Otho, Lex. Rabbinico — Philol., under the word Gennasareticum mare.

f See the Hebrew eulogy on Tiberias in Frankl, Nach Jerusalem, 2, 369.

Tiberias, across the foot of the hill which reaches close down to the shore. We pass a narrow valley, through which the road to Damascus from Tabor here enters ours. Here it extends some distance over level ground on which grow clumps of oleander and Nebek (Zizyphus lotus), and to our left meander rippling brooks; then the hill stretches again down towards the shore, and the lake, as we proceed a little farther, lies at our feet. After we have proceeded an hour from Tiberias, there expands before us a plain which is enclosed by hills; and amid these craggy, deeply cleft hills lies Magdala, formerly a rich and luxurious city, but now reduced to a wretched village. We cannot hear it mentioned, much less see it, without being reminded of that woman from whose mind the cloud of uncertainty was dispelled by that single word "Mary," uttered by Him whom she supposed was the gardener of Joseph of Arimathea, and who then fell down adoringly at his feet with the exclamation "Rabboni!" But, impressively as Magdala reminds us of this interesting and touching event, yet this is not the place where we are to halt, for the Master stands higher in Our estimation than all his male or female disciples.

A quarter of an hour west of Magdala opens the deep ravine of Wadi Hamam, that is, "valley of wild doves," containing caves on both sides of the steep walls formerly connected with an immense fortification; here in the times of King Herod bold adventurers had strongly established themselves, who proudly defied the Idumaean Roman government. Herod conquered them in battle, and then he exterminated the fugitives and those who remained in the caves, by letting down the boldest and strongest of his men in open boxes to the apertures of the caves in the steep declivities. They all preferred death to capture; one of them slew his seven children in calling one after another to the mouth of the cave; and as Herod, from a distance, was a witness of this tragedy, he, by a significant motion of his hand, begged the inhuman father to desist; but he cursed the Edomitish usurper, and finally killed his wife; and throwing her body down the precipice, he hurled himself after her and was dashed to pieces upon the rocks below.* The ruins of Irbid, the ancient Arbel, which we have before us, after a quarter of an hour's steep ascent, awaken more pleasant reminiscences. From this place, formerly opulent and celebrated for its cultivation of grain and manufacture of ropes, came originally the family of Nittai the Arbelite, so distinguished in the history of the Sanhedrim, whose motto was, "Withdraw far from a bad neighbor, and do not make common cause with the ungodly, and hold fast to the hope of a righteous retribution." f Here, at

* Josephus, Wars, I. 16, 2-4.
f Graetz, Geschichte der Juden, 3, 107.

the edge of the hill, which looks into the deep ravine, and towards Magdala, Rabbi Chija, of Babylon, and Rabbi Simon Ben-Chalefta, of Sepphoris, in former times took their position before sunrise, and spoke of the destiny of their people, who had, not long before, witnessed the unsuccessful uprising under the pretended Messiah, Barcochba, and the bloody persecution under the emperor Hadrian. There became visible the "hind of the dawn," that is, the first rays of the morning sun, which were compared by the Semites to the antlers of the stag or a gazelle, and there they first broke through the rosy eastern sky. "Birabbi," said Rabbi Chija, whilst with this honored title he held fast to Rabbi Simon, and directing his attention to the first blush of the morning sun, reverently exclaimed, "That is a picture of the redemption of Israel. It begins small and indistinct, as the prophet Micah, ch. vii. 8, says, 'When I sit in darkness, the Lord will be a light unto me,' but only to grow more brilliant in its increasing glory, as Mordecai once sat in the gate of the palace to learn the fate of Esther, but afterwards, clothed in royal purple, and mounted on horseback, became the light and joy of his people," {Esther ii. 20; viii. 15.) But has not the sun of redemption already risen, and, as Ps. 22 shows, have not his morning rays flashed through the bloody red? Hence we will again grasp the wanderer's staff, after we have imagined ourselves back again in the ancient Arbel, and in its old synagogue, while seated for a while upon one of these columns which formerly supported it, but which now lie around in melancholy confusion. After this brief repose we shall again descend to the plain.

We find ourselves here in the real valley of Ginnesar, where in ancient times, before war after war had desolated this paradise of a country, the date-tree was cultivated, besides other excellent fruit-trees. It was here that Rabbi Elisha Ben Abeya, of Jerusalem, the richly gifted teacher of the law, first cherished the germ of dissatisfaction with the Jewish religion, which he suffered to develop to the poisonous fruit of apostasy, by the industrious perusal of Greek and especially Gnostic writings. He was a wretched man, who through a sinfully inordinate thirst after human wisdom and disregard of that which is divine, sunk into the lowest depth of demoniacal sensuality and degraded himself so far that Meir Letteris, in his beautiful translation of Goethe's Faust, with an exquisite touch of his pen, has used him as a substitute in place of the German doctor. When you find a bird's nest, says a Mosaic law,* you may take the young but not its mother, but you must first scare her away to alleviate her grief, that it may be well with thee, and that thou mayest prolong thy days. But when Elisha on one occasion was sitting in the valley of Ginnesar and explaining the law, the

* Deut. xxii. 6.
C

following circumstance occurred. A man climbed to the top of a tree, took a nest with the mother and the young, and descended unhurt. He saw another, who waited till the Sabbath was over, climbing a tree, who took the young and allowed the mother to escape. On descending, he was bitten by a snake and died. "Where is now," asked Elisha, "the promised blessing and long life upon which this and not the other man could count?" These and similar events perplexed him in relation to God's justice and truth. His only support was Rabbi Meir, who was not yet weary of learning from the apostate, and at the same time exhorting him to conversion. He once broke off his discourse in the midrasch-house of Tiberias, when he heard that Elisha, in defiance of the Sabbath, was riding through the city, and followed him to learn from him and if possible to convince him of his error. He stood before his dying-bed, and brought him at least to weeping, after he had given himself up as irrecoverably lost. And when a sheet of flame rose from the grave of the apostate — according to the legend — Rabbi Meir threw his mantle over it for the purpose of extinguishing it, and addressed the dead man in the words of the Book of Ruth,* "Tarry this night (t. e. of death), and it shall be in the morning that if He (God) will redeem thee, well, let Him do it, but if He will not redeem thee, * Ruth iii. 13.

then will I redeem thee, as the Lord liveth: so lie down until the morning." It is the same Rabbi Meir, when he was dying in Asia, who said to those standing round, "Carry my coffin down to the seashore that it may be washed by waves which wash the shore of the Holy Land ;*' and in the consciousness of being a saint, and even more than a saint, he added, "Tell it to the inhabitants of Israel that here lies their anointed Messiah."

But enough of these tales which tradition has brought down to us; we will proceed further, for we are beckoned on by the reminiscences of a teacher who had a better right to such exalted self - consciousness than Rabbi Meir. The road is enchanting: it leads to a trellised way of oleanders, whose rosy garlands border a grove of Rebek-like trees, olives and figs, on the left; on the right, it skirts along the sea, in which the azure blue of the skies is beautifully mirrored.*

After a good quarter of an hour's walk, we reach Ain el-madaware, embowered amid trees and thickets, and encompassed with a low, circular wall. It is the large basin of a beautiful spring abounding in fish, which, irrigating the plain, flows towards the lake. To gain a survey of this magnificent valley of Genesaret, we must not regard the labor of ascending the hill that overlooks this spring. Arrived at the summit, we are not a little amazed at

* Tischendorff, Reise in dem Orient, ii. 217.

observing a man sitting on the outermost edge of the hill. The black kaftan immediately reveals to us a Polish Jew; The Tallith (prayer cloak), which he has thrown over his head, and which is richly embroidered in that part which lies over his round hat, shows that he is engaged in prayer, and as he holds the Tallith close over his breast, he looks neither to the right nor the left, but straight forward towards the lake. We try to wait until he has finished his prayer, but as it seems to come to no end, I advance towards him, tap him gently upon the shoulder, and salute him with the words, "Blessed be he whom I here meet upon these sacred hills!" He suddenly rose, but after he had thoroughly scanned our persons, he inquired suspiciously, "Are you children of my people?" Whilst asking this question, his eyes sparkled under his bushy brows, which were as white as his beard, and betrayed such a growing confidence and deep emotion, that I might have embraced him, and I enthusiastically exclaimed, "No; but we are the friends of Israel, and such who long to see the consolation of Jerusalem? And as we are such, and every inch of the Holy Land is important and interesting to us, you must also tell us why you are sitting here. What are you praying for here? What are you observing here?" "It is a great mystery," he replied, "which you desire to know, but I will not conceal it from you, for God has brought us into communion and you have unlocked my heart. For fifty years I was Rabbi of a congregation in Volhynia and have written nothing, but on that account have I been more diligent in reading and research. Already since my boyhood, when I began to read Raschi on the Pentateuch and the Targum and the Talmud, no subject connected with the ancient legends has so interested me and taken up so much of my time as that of the fountain of Miriam. After I had made my pilgrimage here to Tiberias, to die in the maternal bosom of my home and to be buried in sacred ground, one of my first questions was, Where is the fountain of Miriam? No one knew, or feigned something not to appear ignorant.* * Frankl (Nach Jerusalem, II. 355) was shown a

But as the Jerusalem Talmud says, that in order to find it, you must stand in the middle door of the old synagogue of Serugnin* and look straight forward. I asked the Jews and the Nazarenes and the Ishmaelites, where is Serugnin? but they all replied that they had never heard of a place of that name. Then I determined to give myself no rest until I had found the mysterious fountain, and there is no favorable point of view on the hills or in the valley at which I have not stood long and imploringly looked up to heaven and out upon the

large red rock between Tiberias and the Baths, lying about ten paces from the sea, as the stone which Moses smote with his staff.

*Schwarz, Tebuoth ha-arez (Jerusalem 5605, 8) 933. Compare his Heiliges Land (1852), p. 134

sea, in search of the desired locality. I knew all the marks that distinguish it — a small mass of rock, round like a beehive, and full of holes like a sieve.* But a long time elapsed, until at last I saw really before me the dream, and riddle and mystery of my long life. It was at the first Elul of last year, when the water, owing to a drought of some months' duration, was very low. See," said he, pointing to the place at the edge of the hill where he had been sitting, "the rock itself is invisible at present, owing to the high water, but there, a little this side of the current of the Jordan, where the water forms a little eddy, and occasionally throws up

* Schabbath, 35a. Comp. Schottgen, Horse, at 1 Cor. x. 4.

bladders, there lies the fountain of Miriam. Peace be with you!"

It may be here remarked that this fountain of Miriam is not known to Bible - readers because it is nothing more than an unfounded legend. We read in the Bible that when Miriam died in Kadesh Barnea,* the people began to complain of the want of water, and that upon their wanderings through the desert they were supplied with water miraculously from rocks. Legendary fiction has drawn the conclusion that, on the ground of the meritorious services of Miriam, the Israelites were accompanied during their forty years' wandering over hill and valley with a rock furnishing water, which rolled itself * Numb. xx. Comp. Ps. Ixxviii. 15.

along by the side of the hosts, and stopped wherever they encamped. To this fountain of Miriam, which after Miriam's death disappeared for a time from the view of the people, and then again was restored, is applied what we read in Numb. xxi. 17, " Then Israel sang this song, Spring up, O well; sing ye unto it."* At the death of Moses this fountain disappeared. God concealed it in the sea of Tiberias, but yet so that he who looks northward towards this sea from the mountain Jeschimon, the highest peak of the land of Moab, will yet recognize it in the form of a little sieve/]*

* See particularly the Targum of Jonathan on this passage.

f The Babylonish Talmud is mistaken in supposing this mountain was Carmel.

This legend is ancient and widely extended. It is so deeply rooted in the popular mind, that remarkable stories are still told and believed of its miraculous ability to transport itself from one place to another.

"But," said I to this simple-hearted old man, "why do you still sit here, enveloped in the Tallith, and gaze with such a constrained look after this fountain, which you believe to have discovered?" "Have you ever been in Meiron ?" he asked. "Yes," I replied, "and we there stood at the grave of Rabbi Simeon bar Jochai." * "Well, then, you know," he continued, "that there is a Kabbala (tradition) extant, that here where the redemption from Egypt re* Robinson, Palestine, 3, 598.

ceived its consummation, the future redemption will have its beginning." * "Do you know," I inquired, "that the fountain of Miriam is also mentioned in the sacred writings of the Christians?" "You are mistaken," he exclaimed; "the Sea of Genesaret is mentioned in the gospel, but not the fountain of Miriam." "But the Apostle Paul," I rejoined, "who sat at the feet of Gamaliel, the grandson of Hillel, says in his first epistle to the Corinthian Christians.f 'Our fathers, who were under the cloud and passed through the sea, did all drink the same spiritual drink, for they drank of that spiritual rock which

* Jalkut Chadasch, i42d, No. 43. Comp. my Comment, on Isaiah, p. 157. 11 Cor. x. 1-4.

followed them,' — but he adds, — 'and that rock — this fountain of Miriam — was Christ' It was he of whom Isaiah spoke, 'Behold I lay in Zion a cornerstone,* a tried stone, a precious cornerstone.' But now we must part. You are seeking the traces of the Mosaic redemption, and we are following the tracks of the Messianic redemption, which really took its rise at this sea."

After we had separated we continue to follow the road on the inner side of the valley, which leads to the foot of the chain of hills, and come to where it again extends near the sea and cuts off the valley. We have now reached an old dilapidated station-house, built upon a foundation of basaltic tufa, whence lead

* Is. xxviii. 16.

ing up the hill the Damascus road branches off. It is the Khan Minije. Proceeding a little beyond it, and having arrived at Ain at Tin, the Fountain of Figs, so called from a large, old figtree standing there, we find the soil covered with such a beautiful and inviting carpet of green that we cannot resist the disposition to stop awhile and refresh ourselves with breathing the seaair, here laden with the aromatic fragrance of this lovely pasture - land. Southwardly from the Khan there are ruins which extend to the banks of the sea. Was this perhaps the locality of Capernaum? Robinson and many who follow him are of this opinion, Sepp thinks that he has established it incontestably, in discerning in the word Minije an analogy with Minim, the name of heretics, which was given to Christians, and verily Capernaum could be designated above other localities as the place of Minim. But this name is not traditional, and that of Minije first ap- , pears in the year 1189 in an Arabic biography of Saladin* The location of Capernaum in the vicinity of the Khan Minije is to be rejected for this reason besides, because, according to the oldest and most credible tradition, the whole western shore of the sea of Genesaret belonged to the tribe of Naphtali,f but Capernaum, according

* The designation of the Khan with Minije, properly Minge, is pure Arabic and frequent as the name of places, particularly in Egypt. The word means residence, resting-place, hamlet,

fSee Caphtor wa-Pherach, c. 7,

to Matt. iv. 13, lay on the borders of Zebulon and Naphtali, and hence farther northward, there where, at the northern end of the sea, the territory of Zebulon borders upon that of Naphtali. At any rate, this was the location of an ancient place.

Persons dwelling in the vicinity of the Fountain of Figs once betook themselves to Sepphoris, which occupied an inland position in a southwesterly direction, for the purpose of paying a congratulatory visit to a man high in office. It is related that Rabbi Simeon benChalefta, whom we have already seen on the heights of Arbel, was surrounded at the city gate of Sepphoris by a crowd of rude children who would not allow him to move from the spot, until he had danced before them. One of our companions exclaimed: "The fig-tree there reminds me of the story of Hadrian and the man of one hundred years old. The emperor was once travelling in the vicinity of Tiberias, and called to an old man who was planting young fig-trees, 'Old man! such work is usually done in the morning and not in the evening of life.' 'I was industrious in my youth,' he replied, 'and will also be in my old age; the result is left to God.' 'Do you then believe,' asked the emperor, 'that you will yet enjoy the fruits of this tree?' 'Perhaps,' he replied, 'if God vouchsafes it; if not, then I am doing for my posterity the same which my ancestors did for me.' Then the emperor exclaimed,' If you survive that, I conjure you to let me know it.' After the lapse of some years, the old man appeared at the imperial palace with a basket of figs. Hadrian invited him to take a seat upon a golden chair and ordered his basket to be filled with gold pieces, and said to the astonished servants, 'He honors his maker, and should I not honor him t' But when another inhabitant of this beautiful country, instigated by his wife, also took to the emperor a basket of precious figs, in hope of a similar imperial compensation, Hadrian ordered the presumptuous man to stand at the gate of the palace, and every person going in or out should cast one of his figs in his face. When he had returned home, his avaricious and disappointed wife did not even sympathize with him, but said to him sneeringly, 'Go, and tell your mother how fortunate you were, that it was only figs and not Paradise apples, and above all ripe figs, for if they had not been so, what a face you would have brought home.' " *

But, brother, we are not here to listen to pretty stories and to behold beautiful landscapes. We are here to seek out the city of Jesus — the city of the Messias — the city by the sea, near the borders of the heathen, where the word of Isaiah was fulfilled, "The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light; they that dwell in the

*Wajikra rabba, c. 25. Midrasch Koheleth, 2, 20. Fiirstenthal's Rabbinische Anthologie, No. 429. S*

land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined," {Is. ix. 2.)

There is no road along the sea by which we could proceed further — nothing but an ancient aqueduct of doubtful intention, a mere conduit cut in the stone, runs along the shore. Then we pursue our way over the rocky projection of the hill, which northward cuts the vale of Genesaret. The blue sea gently undulates on our right, and in the distance before us Hermon stretches his gray summit into the azure sky. The sublime, enchanting view transports us into a devotional silence. When after a quarter of an hour we descended into the mill seats of Tabigha,*

* Thus Robinson and others write it, but the proper name is Tabika, from tabaka, to cover. This is the word for a spring which covers a wide space with its mass of water.

with its copious springs of water, our . friend broke the silence and said, "Are you so peevish that you do not want to hear any more pleasant stories?" "Always," was the answer, "but they must relate to Capernaum." He then continued: "What my Jewish authorities say of Capernaum is not creditable or cheering. Capernaum passes for a principal residence of the minim, (heterodox, i. e. Jewish Christians,) and what the Jews say of them is not better than what the heathen fabled of the ancient Christians. One story is at least tragicomical. Chanina, the nephew of Rabbi Joshua — as the tale goes — once went to Capernaum, where the people under false pretences enticed him to

ride upon an ass in the city on a Sabbath day. When he had come to himself, he fled for refuge to Rabbi Joshua, his father's brother, who anointed him with a salve and thus healed him from his bewitchment, but said to him: 'Since the ass of those ungodly people has befooled you, you can no longer dwell in the Holy Land.' He wandered to Babylon and died there in peace.* The 'ass of the ungodly' which neighed at him was the foolish preaching concerning the Crucified."

The nearness of our destination hastened our steps. Another hour and we shall find ourselves on the extensive ruins of Tell Hum, and shall be thread

* Mishrad Koheleth, i, 8.

ing our way through grass and bushes to the astounding and colossal remains of ancient Capernaum.* There is no collection of ruins near the Sea of Genesaret which can be compared with these in magnitude and extent, and in traces of departed glory. Here, yes here, we cry as with one voice, we will remain and not depart therefrom until these ruins have risen again before our spirit and until we have beheld him, who once lived here, who walked between these houses, and who in this synagogue revealed himself as the founder of a new era in his wisdom and wonder-working power.

* Mischrad Koheleth, i, 8.