At the foot of Mount Hermon, in the north of the Galilee, the spring of the Banyas flows out of a cave.
Joining the River Jordan, its waters descend 1700 feet (510m) to feed the Sea of Galilee.
In ancient times many springs were held to be sacred – especially those like Banyas that emerged from the mouth of a cave.
The Greeks settled here and built a temple dedicated to Zeus.
They named the place Paneas after Pan, the god of Shepherds and nature. Banyas is the Arabic pronunciation of that name. Herod the Great erected a temple to Caesar Augustus in the town. His son Philip made it the capital of his tetrarchy, and renamed it Caesaria. Thus it become known in the Gospels as Caesaria Philippi. It was here that Jesus brought the disciples; here that Jesus said, “Thou art Peter and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it”, Matthew 16:18.
*When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesaria Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; some Jeremias, or one of the prophets. He said unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. Matthew 16:13-16
This page is part of the book The Holy Land of Jesus
Share this page with your friends
Follow News from Jerusalem