Tourist Tip #93 / Nain, Where Jesus Is Said to Have Raised the Dead.

Next time you’re driving through northeast Israel stop off in Nain to see the site where Jesus is said to have raised the dead.

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If you’re driving through northeast Israel, you’re probably headed for one of a handful of destinations. Road 65 will take you to Mount Tabor, the archaeological museum at Kibbutz Ein Dor, the pioneering museum of Kfar Tavor or further afield to Tiberias. You could easily blow right by the brown and white sign for the visitor’s attraction in the tiny village of Nain, about 9 kilometers northeast of Afula.

Consider slowing down. Nain is worth a visit. It hasn’t changed its name for 2,000 years, so it should ring a bell for people familiar with the New Testament. It’s the same “town called Nain” (Luke 7:11) mentioned in the touching story of Jesus raising a widow’s son from the dead.

But a few things have changed since Jesus’ day, as evidenced by the gas station, McDonald’s and Middle Eastern restaurant you’ll pass on the way. You’ll know you’re near the traditional site of the miracle when you see a church and a mosque, both of which have been built since the event.

Nain, whose name may come from the Hebrew word “na’im,” meaning “pleasant,” is mentioned in a 3,500-year-old Egyptian source, and archaeologists can confirm its history goes back at least 2,300 years, having unearthed a large Roman building there with foundations from Hellenistic times.

The village’s population today stands at about 2,000 people, all of them Muslim. You’ll find the quaint and virtually unadorned church built by the Franciscans in the 1880s right across the street from the mosque.

Next to the church is the home of the Barakat (meaning “blessing”) family, whose members have been the keepers of the large old-fashioned key to the church for generations. There are no regular hours, so just knock on their door and ask for the key. A small donation is welcomed after your visit.

Naim is mentioned in the New Testament as the place where Jesus raised a widow's son from the dead.Credit: Reuters
Inside the church at Nain.Credit: Miriam Vamosh Feinberg

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