Help Local Believers in the Search for Bethsaida!

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All funds raised will go entirely to help make possible the participation of local believers in the excavation.

In a few weeks (June 16-July 12) we begin our fourth season of excavations at el-Araj (New Testament Bethsaida). Last year we were able to include in our team some local believers. We feel it is important to include them again in this initiative to find the lost city of the Apostles. However, the cost for food and housing is an obstacle for their participation. Can you help? We would like to raise $2000 in order to subsidize the participation of local believers once again this season. All funds raised will go entirely to help make possible the participation of local believers in the excavation.

To donate please visit our fundraising page at this link:

When you donate, enter “JP Appeal” into the comment box so that we know where to direct your gift (see image to the left).

Thank you for making the participation of local believers in the el-Araj excavation possible.


Testimonial: Ethan Knapp “Volunteering to dig at El Araj is a life-changing experience!”

Ethan Knapp

As a believer living in Israel, I always enjoyed history and the Bible, and even archeology, but typically from a distance, through books and magazines or occasionally by visiting a Biblical site as a tourist with my family. But last year that all changed when I volunteered to join an archeological dig on the site of el Araj—thought to be the site of the Biblical Bethsaida—the home to Jesus’ apostles Simon Peter, Andrew and Philip by the Sea of Galilee. In the course of several long, hot weeks we uncovered a Crusader sugar plantation, millstones, Judean oil lamps, fishing weights, remains of a bathhouse, of a church and a host of other amazing things that all seem to strengthen the case for the place being the town from the New Testament. It was one of the highlights of my life, and we barely scratched the surface! Much more remains to be unearthed and learned at this site about the world of Jesus and the prospect is utterly tantalizing. The supervising archeologists during the dig frequently remarked how much they enjoyed having local believers working at the dig because of their zeal for the project and how hard they worked. I and some of my local believer friends would like to return and volunteer to uncover more of the Biblical Bethsaida. However, doing so poses a difficult economic challenge for us because the site is several hours from our homes in Israel and participation means taking time away from our regular work, traveling a long distance and then funding our accommodations while there. For many of us this is a prohibitive obstacle to our participation to the extent that might otherwise be possible.


Comments 1

  1. Josa Bivin

    One of the advantages for local believers to participate in biblical archaeological sites is it increases their knowledge and experience and enhances explaining to tourists at the actual biblical site enabling them to give a more thorough and interesting explanation.

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    R. Steven Notley

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