Magdala is a place of encounter and dialogue between Jews and Christians, it is a place where archaeology meets faith, where stones come alive and people become part of the ongoing history of Jesus’ ministry. But this is not the only reason why it is highlighted as one of the must-see-sites in Galilee, but also for one of the most stunning biblical oleo murals in the Holy Land. Daniel Cariola, the author/artist of “Encounter” portrayed one of the miracles described in the Gospel, a woman sick of bleeding, who touches Jesus´ shawl and is immediately healed:
“When Jesus had again crossed over by boat to the other side of the lake, a large crowd gathered around Him while he was by the lake and a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years. She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse. When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, because she thought, “If I just touch His clothes, I shall be healed.” Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering.”
Mark 5: 21. 25-29 NIV
The painting is located at the Encounter Chapel in the Duc In Altum Worship Center. The image of realistic style, shows Jesus´, the crowd´s and the disciples’ feet at the moment when the sick woman touches the edge of the rabbi´s tallit (prayer shawl). Cariola said “Father Juan requested a close-up format depicting the scene. He sent a few pictures of the floor of the Chapel. My inspiration came from thinking about the Gospel, Jesus´ miracles, and the significance of this work. I spent a while along the lineal harmonic composition, color and a proper tone”.
The mural was painted in oleo technique over Belgian linen and depicted on 500×186 cm clothes, fabrics and sandals and traditional tunics used by Jewish people and Gentiles then. The image suggests the arrival of Jesus to the Magdala port and an encounter between misery and mercy. The composition of the painting was inspired by the place where the event may have taken place, the ancient port of Magdala, which remains as décor of the Encounter Chapel. Today, people can stand on the stones of the marketplace where Jesus walked and have a personal encounter as they experience the historical and spiritual presence of Christ.
The Chilean artist says: “My reputation as an artist has increased due to the success of “Encounter” and excellent international reviews. Many countries have started to request artwork, such as; Norway, Czech Republic, Spain, United States, but overall, here in Chile. My work collaboration with Magdala has strengthened my faith and respect for Christian history and has made me feel like I´m part of it.”
Since December of 2016, the site has sold over 2,500 Encounter canvases. It is the most sold item at Magdala and the most requested on social media. The funds are all designated for the maintenance and development of the Magdala Project.