Tabgha is the traditional location for several significant events in the life of Jesus. It is located on the northwestern shores of the Sea of Galilee, on the slopes of the Mount of Beatitudes. This area was originally called “Heptapegon,” a Greek word translated as “seven springs”—Tabgha is the Arab translation.
The Tabgha area gets its name from the surrounding seven springs—of which six have been found today. These springs flow into the Sea of Galilee, creating a prime fishing location. This is because the spring water is warmer than the sea water, allowing more algae to grow and attracting fish during the colder seasons. Hence, Tabgha was (and still is) a popular fishing area. Remains of an ancient harbor have been found and can be seen when the sea water level is low.
Feeding of the 5,000
At Tabgha, just off the shores of the Sea of Galilee, stands a modern church commemorating the traditional location of where Jesus fed the 5,000 men. This church protects the remains of a 4th-century AD mosaic that depicts the bread loaves and two fish that Jesus multiplied to feed the 5,000. Under the church’s altar is a rock that is believed to be the rock on which Jesus laid the loaves and fish while blessing them. The special mosaic and rock can be seen in the photo below.
Overflowing Nets (John 21:1-14)
Jesus’ third appearance to His disciples after His resurrection is traditionally believed to be at Tabgha. The Church of the Primacy of St. Peter commemorates the rock (lower left photo) on which Jesus stood and told His disciples (who didn’t recognize Him) to throw their nets on the right of the boat in order to catch fish. After doing this, their nets overflowed with 153 fish. Then, Jesus prepared breakfast for the disciples on a rock, according to tradition (lower right photo), which the church commemorates as well. This rock is known as “Mensa Christi,” which means “the table of Christ.”
Commissioning Peter (John 21:15-19)
Following the overflowing nets and fresh breakfast, Jesus asks Peter “Do you love me?” three times. This event recalls Peter’s three denials of Jesus, following Jesus’ arrest. In between questions, Jesus gives Peter three commissions: “Feed my lambs,” “Tend my sheep,” and “Feed my sheep.” Then Jesus reveals to Peter that he will die as a martyr and tells him to follow Him. A statue in a secluded garden at Tabgha commemorates this event.
Originally posted at Sar-El Tours.