About one mile south of the village of Kefr Kenna we pass a ruin called Jiftah, and near
a hill, is the so-called tomb of Jonah. Jiftah has been regarded as a corruption of Gath
H her with which it has been identified, and thus the birthplace of the prophet Jonah has
b-en made known (2 Kings xiv.). It belonged to Zebulun, and Jerome states that it was two
miles east of Sepphoris, on the way to Tiberias. In his day, also, even as it is in ours, was
hown here the tomb of the oldest of the Hebrew prophets. If we have Biblical authority
for the birthplace of Jonah, we have at least a venerable tradition for the place of his burial.
It happens, however, that this is only one of the prophet's burial-places, which anomaly a
native would have no difficulty in explaining by the rule that, if a man when living may have
several houses, he may likewise when dead have several tombs. There can be no objection
to honouring a great man by building for him a cenotaph, but, if several were built, it would
inevitably become impossible after thirty centuries to tell in which of these he was buried.
The little hill on which a few houses, including the tomb of Jonah, stand is called El Meshhad,
and the Moslems of the region look upon the place with feelings of veneration (see page 294).
The region is rocky but fertile, and clusters of fig and old olive trees are abundant. From
this point the beautiful valley of Tur'an opens to the west and north-east, along the southern
edo-e of which we pass, and reach in twenty minutes Kefr Kenna (see page 292). Only three
or four minutes from the village is the well or fountain. As the village has no other well, the
people in Christ's time drew water here, as do the people of to-day.
The situation of Kefr Kenna, which has now but a few hundred inhabitants, is pleasant,
and among its attractions are its gardens and its orchards of fruit-trees. Here the pomegranate
will be specially noticed. It is extensively cultivated, and among the lovely things of this now
desolate land, perhaps its gorgeous blossoms should be mentioned as one of the richest and
most charming objects. There are found here many ancient ruins, most of which have been
brought to light during the past few years, and the modern houses are less neglected than
those of many other towns. At the well there is an ancient sarcophagus, used now as a
watering-trough (see page 293). The time-worn rosettes and wreath upon it show with what
care and skill it was made, and that it was designed to be an object of beauty as well as a
resting-place for the dead. These sarcophagi, more frequently broken than whole, are found
in great numbers throughout the country. About Sefuriyeh—Sepphoris—(see page 286),
once the capital of Galilee, there are many; and at Gadara, east of the Jordan, they have
been counted by hundreds. With their massive lids and rich ornamentation, they must have
been very costly, and this fact may be taken as an incidental illustration of the wealth
of the inhabitants in former times. In the morning, and again at night, groups of women
and girls with their water-jars are gathered about this well, and shepherds also come
with their flocks; and now and then a passing traveller may stop, to whom some friendly
girl will offer a refreshing draught. If a person chooses he may still see in the Greek
church one or more large earthen jars which are said to have been used at the time
when the miracle was performed; but the water-pots mentioned by John were of stone.