Capernaum, on the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee, played a significant role in the ministry of Jesus. The town became the Galilean center for the ministry of Jesus.
And leaving Nazareth he went and lived in Capernaum by the sea, in the territory of Zebulun and Naphtali, (Matthew 4:13 ESV)
The aerial photo below was made on approach to Capernaum from the east. The site most visited by tourists may be seen left of the center of the photo. You may recognize the new church and the ruins of the synagogue. This property is owned by the Franciscans. To the right you will see the Greek Orthodox Church and the property they own. Evidence of some excavations may be seen.
There is not much remaining of ancient Capernaum. This is not surprising in light of the pronouncement of Jesus.
And you, Capernaum, will you be exalted to heaven? You will be brought down to Hades. For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. (Matthew 11:23 ESV)
Aerial View of Capernaum. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.
I just ran across the third edition of A Day in Capernum by Franz Delitzsch. Yes, the Delitzsch of the famous Keil and Delitzsch 19th century commentaries on the Old Testament. The book was written in 1870, but the third edition was published in 1892. In the days before motorized vehicles, visitors had to travel by foot or horseback. This had a distinct value in allowing more time to meditate and understand the importance of the travel routes, etc. The writer visits some of the other places around the Sea of Galilee and tells how long it took to move from one place to another.
Works of this kind are of value because they reflect the scholarship and understanding of the time. You may read the work online, or download it in PDF from Google Book Search. Here is the directly link to A Day in Capernaum.
Google Book Search is a wonderful place to find many older works in their entirety. Some pages of many newer works are also availalbe.
Things have changed a lot at Capernaum since Delitzsch was there. We believe the foundation of the synagogue from the time of Jesus is known. The synagogue from the late 4th or early 5th century A.D. has been partially reconstructed mainly by the late archaeologist Stanislao Loffreda. The photo shows how it looks today.
The most important thing about Capernaum is that Jesus came and settled in the city and that it was the scene of much of His ministry and miracles (Matthew 4:13; 11:23).