“How I Found Christ in Capernaum,” Ensign, Apr. 2008, 72–73
Following years of planning and preparation, I finally made my way to the Holy Land with family and close friends. As we approached the Sea of Galilee, we looked forward to seeing Capernaum.
The book of Matthew tells us that after the people had rejected Christ in His hometown of Nazareth, the Savior made Capernaum “his own city” (Matthew 9:1). It was in Capernaum and on the shores of the Sea of Galilee that Christ called Peter, James, John, Andrew, and later Matthew as disciples (see Matthew 4:18–22; 9:9).
Capernaum means “village of Nahum,” or village of comfort or consolation. Christ indeed had compassion on the people of this city and comforted them by casting out devils, healing “all that were sick,” and even raising the dead (see Matthew 8:16; Mark 5:35–42). Although He later rebuked the people of Capernaum for rejecting Him, Christ probably performed more miracles here than anywhere else.
In Capernaum we explored ruins and wandered down old city roads in awe of what this little village had witnessed (see Matthew 11:23). Later, I stopped and sat under a tree, pondering and gazing out on the Sea of Galilee. My great expectations to feel the events of the scriptures come to life, however, remained unfulfilled. Despite my preparation for the trip, sincerity in seeking Christ, and determination that had brought us here at last, I felt an emptiness that weighed on my heart.
Why wouldn’t this place where Christ blessed so many people also bless our lives? As I grappled with my feelings, I longed to read the scriptures. I checked with each member of our group, but sadly, no one had brought a Bible. Fortunately, one member of our group had a personal digital assistant with an electronic version of the scriptures on it. We soon gathered around, listening as someone read verses in Matthew 4 and Mark 5 about the Savior in Capernaum.
As soon as our focus shifted to the scriptures, the emptiness that I had been feeling was replaced with a comforting witness of the love of the Savior and of the reality of the events of which the scriptures testify. We had come to Capernaum searching for Christ, but we didn’t find Him until we searched the scriptures. It was not the physical surroundings that bore witness to us but the Holy Ghost.
Scripture study can be supplemented by history, commentaries, linguistic insights, and occasional travel, but there is no substitute for learning directly from the Spirit as we immerse ourselves in the scriptures. The sons of Mosiah, who “had searched the scriptures diligently, that they might know the word of God” (Alma 17:2), exemplified this principle.
May daily scripture study be central to our search for Christ, for the scriptures truly are the best place to find Him.