MAGDALA IN HISTORY by Fr. Cristobal Villaroig
Many years before the Israelites entered the Promised Land, there was a rich and happy man named Job. One day Satan, with God´s permission, put this holy man’s faith to the test. In a few days, Job lost all his riches, his children and finally his health. Amid all this suffering, his patience became proverbial: “Shall we receive the good at the hand of God, and not receive the bad?” (Job 2:10). Job might be a good example in these days in which a new Satan, disguised as a virus, puts us to the test.
The Bible says that Job lived “in the land of Uz” (Job 1:1). No one knows with certainty were Uz was located. Cities in Iraq, Syria, Jordan, Israel and Palestine dispute for the honor. Nonetheless, according to a Jewish tradition, on the day Job received the news of the loses of all his wealth and sons, he was in Magdala (more precisely, Migdal Sab’ayya, according to the Pesikta de-Rav Kahana). It would there that the patient Job, impassive, exclaimed: “The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord!” (Job 1:21) .
It is true: the texts that mention this Magdalene tradition are of a later period (in any case, not before the 5th Century A.D). Yet, nearby Magdala, in Tabgha, there is a bustling waterfall which local Arab referred to as the Fountain to Job. Could this be a vestige of this same tradition?