An ancient temple believed to have been the place of a biblical ‘miracle’ has been found in Israel’s Golan Heights.
Archaeologists from the University of Haifa excavated the site as part of a project to piece together ancient history in the Banias Nature Reserve in the part of northern Israel.
During the dig, professor Adi Erlich and her team uncovered a small, souvenir-like stone with crosses carved into its surface.
Professor Erlich theorized that the stone was made by religious pilgrims and that it was a memorial to a miracle left around the year 400 when the site was no longer an active temple.
The miracle thought to have taken place at this site is described in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke and claims Jesus stopped the bleeding of a woman who had been suffering for 12 years and who could not be helped by doctors.
The story says the woman touched the back of Jesus’ robes in the hope that he would be able to help her, and ‘immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering.’
The New York Post reported that the miracle is said to have taken place while Jesus was on his way to visit the sick daughter of Jairus in the Roman city of Caesarea Philippi, previously Banias and what is now part of Banias Nature Reserve.
“We suggest that the church revealed by us might have been this church that was related to the miracle,” Professor Erlich said.
Erlich’s team previously determined that a temple from the fourth century, located near to the newly discovered church, was possibly where Jesus revealed himself to be the Messiah to his disciple Peter. The place was built on top of a Roman-era shrine to the Greek god Pan from the third century.
The archaeologists discovered the temple beneath a path, and Erlich believes it is a likely location for the miraculous event to have taken place.
“There is another church excavated some 30 years ago on the other side of the springs, but our little church is more of a memorial than a practical basilica for services,” she commented. “So it could have served as the place commemorating the event.”
Erlich explained that once ‘conversation’ about the discovery ‘is over’, everyone will be welcome to come and visit the potentially holy site.