Located on the western shore of the Sea of Galilee, the Tabgha (also called The Place of Seven Springs or Ein Sheva in Hebrew) is best known to the Christian world as the site wherein Christ performed the Miracle of the Multiplication of Fish and Loaves. Indeed, it is noted in all four Gospels that it was here in the Tabgha that Jesus was able to feed 5000 men with only five loaves of bread and two fish. It is believed that it was by virtue of Jesus' prayer that the scant food was able to sustain the entire crowd. During a Christian travel to the Holy land, visitors can witness this place of miracle with their own eyes.
The Gospel of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John all report a second miracle performed in this location, also having to do with feeding the multitudes. Perhaps the most detailed account of the second miracle comes from the Gospel of John were it is stated that while giving a large sermon in Tabgha, Jesus elected not to send the 4000 men home hungry but instead to provide them with supper. As in the first miracle mentioned in the Gospels, here too a small (yet this time unspecified) amount of food was able to feed the entire congregation.
It is of particular interest that in the case of both miracles, all four Gospels point out that the number of men fed by miracle does not include women and children; of whom an approximate quantity is not specified. Adding this notation serves to widen the scope of Jesus' miracle, for it is not only the men that were fed by the blessed bread and fish but the much greater number of wives and children too.
Visitors on a Holy Land tour will quickly notice that aside from its religious significance, the Tagbha, like the rest of the Sea of Galilee, is a beautifully serene site for nature lovers thoroughly enjoyable most days of the year.
Tabgha's Church of Multiplication – A Historic Landmark
Testament to the Miracle of the Multiplication, the Church of Multiplication was built in the 4 th century AD and destroyed several centuries later either by the Persians or the Arabs who conquering Palestine. Despite its destruction, what remains today of the original structure are perhaps its two most important features—the mosaic of the loaves and fish and the ancient stone plate believed to be the very rock upon which Jesus stood when blessing the food.
Today the church and it precious mosaics are under the guardianship of the German Association of the Holy Land who gained full ownership of the church after entering it in the 1930s only to find excavations of an old Byzantine church built on the grounds.
Christian Israel tours at times skip over this remote site because of its distance from the major destinations of Jerusalem, Nazareth and the likes. However, with its rich history and religious significance you would be well advised to take the time to visit this one of a kind gem.
The Chapel of St. Peter – Where Christ Was Resurrected
Yet another historical occurrence often pegged as a miracle in its own right is the third resurrection of Christ. It was here in the Tabgha that, according to the Gospel of John, Jesus resurrected from the dead for the third time prior to his ascension into heaven.
Jesus' third resurrection is most notable for its influence on the Roman Catholic doctrine, for it was during Christ's third visit to earth that He bestowed upon St. Peter the privilege and the duty known as the Primacy Over the Church. Indeed, according to hermeneutic texts, Jesus' third resurrection reaffirmed St. Peter's title as Jesus' favored student and cemented his position of privilege in relation to the other apostles.
St. Peter's supremacy went on turn earn him the title of the first Bishop of Rome, as well as a place of honor in the Roman Orthodox doctrine and, to a varying degree, the Protestant and Anglican churches, making it a prime destination for believers of all kinds on a Christian tour to Israel.