Nestled on the northwest shore of Galilee, Capernaum, lies in ruins. It was deserted long ago.
I visited on an October day of bright blue skies. The sun high overhead burned the back of my neck and the tops of my arms. I sought relief under the branches of a Ficus tree, a species of fig cultivated from ancient times for its fruit.
From there I took in my surroundings. Excavations showed black basalt remains of small, simple houses, and the walls and pillars of a synagogue.
Jesus made Capernaum his home during his ministry. The name means “home of the comforter.” It’s an appropriate name for a place where Jesus consoled many people.
Jesus healed Peter’s mother-in-law in Capernaum. She no doubt lived in one of the black stone houses. Jesus healed the centurion’s servant here. He cast out unclean spirits. Mary Magdalene lived not far away in the next village of Magdala.
Peter, Andrew, James and John—four of Jesus’ disciples—lived with their families and fished for a living from Capernaum. The town would have bustled with men and boys mending nets on the shoreline, dragging their boats onto the beach after a night of fishing, and bringing in the daily catch.
As well as an ordinary fishing village, Capernaum was an important Roman town, sitting on the border between two Roman territories. Here people paid their taxes, to men like Matthew, on their journey to Jerusalem.
In Capernaum, Roman Gentiles and Jewish fishermen lived side-by-side. And, in their midst, the Son of God made his home. He slept and ate and washed his clothes. He talked with his neighbors as well as taught in the synagogue across from where he lived.
Jesus became part of everyday life.
Jesus’ life in Capernaum gives us a glimpse into the nature of God. He is a God who wants to move in, to dwell, and tabernacle with us.
He sent his Son to be with us—as a baby and boy to live in a family, as an adult to be part of a community.
The people have gone from Capernaum. Jesus no longer lives on earth. Instead, he has gone to prepare a home for us, where we will one day live with him.
Jesus said it was better that he should go because then God’s Spirit would move in with us—not into a house or a town, but into our hearts.
Has God moved into your life? Perhaps he did some time ago. But maybe you’d like the reminder, today, that he is your Comforter. He is with you in the ordinary, and mundane moments of your life. He is able to do the extraordinary when you need help and healing.
Use the prayer below to celebrate God’s presence in your everyday life.
I am so grateful that you
love to move in and live life with me,
that you want to be in the everyday
and often mundane moments of my life.
Thank you that I can turn to you
for comfort, for help, for healing,
and for just times of sitting with you.
Remind me of your presence
in my heart,
in my home,
and wherever I go today.