A mosaic depicting Jesus feeding the five thousand has been discovered in the ancient city close to the Sea of Galilee.
The mosaic is believed to date back almost 1,500 years and has made archaeologists who have spent all summer in the area searching for historical evidence, very happy
The coined “Burnt Church” in Hippos, or northern Israel, was destroyed by fire in 700 AD but the mosaic-paved floor has been preserved by a thick layer of ash ever since.
Hippos lies at the heart of the Holy Land and overlooks the Sea of Galilee where it was once the site of a Greco-Roman city.
In the piece of art, the scenery depicted seems to support one of the miracles referred to in the New Testament where Jesus used five loaves of bread along with two fish to feed 5,000 people who gathered on the water banks.
A team from the University of Haifa discovered the Burnt Church in 2005 but only began to dig this summer.
Head archaeologist, Dr. Michael Eisenburg, shared with MailOnline:
“There can certainly be different explanations to the descriptions of loaves and fish in the mosaic, but you cannot ignore the similarity to the description in the New Testament. For example, from the fact that the New Testament has a description of five loaves in a basket or the two fish depicted in the apse, as we find in the mosaic.”
“Nowadays, we tend to regard the Church of the Multiplication in Tabgha on the north-west of the Sea of Galilee as the location of the miracle, but with careful reading of the New Testament it is evident that it might have taken place north of Hippos within the city’s region. According to the scripture, after the miracle Jesus crossed the water to the northwest of the Sea of Galilee, to the area of Tabgha/Ginosar, so that the miracle had to take place at the place where he began the crossing rather than at the place he finished it.”
But Eisenburg goes on to explain how the mosaic at the Church of Multiplication only depicts two fish and a basket of four loaves while the New Testament miracles say there were five loads of bread like in the mosaic.
Dr. Eisenburg went on, sharing:
“In addition, the mosaic at the burnt church has a depiction of 12 baskets, and the New Testament also describes the disciples who, at the end of the miracle, were left with 12 baskets of bread and fish. There is no doubt that the local community was well familiar with the two miracles of Feeding the Multitude and perhaps knew their estimated locations better than us.”
Hippos was noted to be abandoned around 600AD when an earthquake reeked havoc on the city which lies at the top of a hill.