What to See in Jesus’ Childhood Home
There is little information in the Bible about Jesus’ childhood. What we do know is that Jesus grew up in Nazareth, which was settled approximately 2,000 years ago by Jews. According to the Apostle Matthew’s account in the New Testament, Joseph and Mary were living in Bethlehem in Judea when Jesus was born. They subsequently fled with their infant son Jesus to Egypt because they learned that King Herod intended to kill all infants in the area. When King Herod died, they moved to Nazareth.
Nazareth is home to several of the most important Christian sites in the world. Known as Natsrat in Hebrew, Nazareth is located in the mountains of Northern Israel, in the province of Galilee. Christian pilgrims have been visiting Nazareth since the 6 th Century. Although Nazareth wasn’t mentioned at all in the Old Testament, it was mentioned 17 times in the New Testament.
When Jesus lived in Nazareth, it was a small agricultural village that had a population of between 200 and 400. The majority of residents in Nazareth were peasants who worked the land to pay their taxes and lived with what was left.
Jesus and his brothers and sisters were raised as Jews. His sisters were unnamed, and his brothers’ names were James, Joseph, Judas, and Simon. Jesus was apparently a friendly and outgoing child who grew strong and wise over the years. Joseph, Jesus’ stepfather, was a carpenter and taught Jesus the trade. Jesus worked as a carpenter in Nazareth until he began his ministry in Capernaum when he was about 30 years old.
Must-See Christian Sites in Nazareth
• The Church of the Annunciation.
This massive church, which dominates Nazareth’s skyline, is the largest Christian church in all of the Middle East. The church was built directly above a cave in a crypt that is widely believed to have been Mary’s home. It is also thought that the Annunciation occurred in this crypt, or in other words, the Angel Gabriel appeared there to tell Mary she would conceive a child who would be the Son of God.
To get a better idea of what life was like in Nazareth when Jesus lived there, visitors can view excavation sites in the northern courtyard of the Church of the Annunciation and in the crypt of the neighboring Church of St. Joseph. The excavations revealed that Nazareth was a small village with no paved streets, palace, or fortifications.
• Mary’s Well.
A visit to Mary’s Well is also a must on any tour to Nazareth. The well, where Mary and Jesus drew water on a regular basis, is located in the center of downtown Nazareth. Fed by a freshwater spring, Mary’s Well was likely the core of the village of Nazareth when Jesus lived there. According to Greek Orthodox tradition, Mary’s Well is the true site of the Annunciation.
• Nazareth Village.
Nazareth Village is another popular attraction in Nazareth where the setting of Jesus’ childhood has been authentically recreated. After 15 years of research, Nazareth Village was built on a farm in central Nazareth. Nazareth Village features re-creations of a 1 st Century AD dwelling, olive crusher, and synagogue, among other sites. There are also re-enactors dressed in costume demonstrating household tasks, working the land, and making crafts.
Today, Nazareth is a colorful, bustling city with hilly streets that is home to approximately 65,000 Christians, Muslims, and Jews. Nazareth has the largest Christian Arab population in Israel. It remains an important Christian pilgrimage site owing to its profusion of churches and monasteries.
Do you want to learn more about Jesus’ childhood and explore Nazareth’s fascinating sites? Then join Christian Holyland Tours in Nazareth.
For more information about our Christian tours to Jesus’ childhood home, please call 1.800.2.ISRAEL