A well-preserved mosaic depicting the story of the five loaves of bread and two fish was discovered in the so-called Burnt Church, which is located in the ancient city of Hippos in the northern part of Israel, which overlooks the Sea of Galilee.
The Burnt Church dates back to the 5th century and was originally discovered in 2005 by archeologists from the University of Haifa and the mosaic was uncovered this summer. Incredibly the mosaic had been preserved by a blanket of ash and the remains of the church’s roof from a fire that burnt the church down around 700 AD.
Michael Eisenberg, head of the excavation team told Religion News, “The church itself is the legacy of the ministry of Jesus. I think they had collective memories of the miracles.” Miracles, Eisenberg went on to state, that had taken place just hundreds of years before. “When they stood in the church and looked out, they recognized the places where the various miracles took place.”
One of these miracles was the feeding of the multitude, which is mentioned in all four gospels and according to the Gospel of John happened near the Sea of Galilee.
“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,” Eisenberg told Religion News.
Eisenberg also says that this is just one of at least seven churches that coexisted around the Sea of Galilee during the Byzantine period and hopes to discover some of them. Though he noted for that to happen, “You need luck…a miracle.”