The Burqin church, also known as St. George’s Church, has stood in its current location since the Byzantine era as a marker of the site on which Jesus cleansed ten lepers of their disease. According to the New Testament account, Jesus was passing through the village on his way from the Galilee region to Jerusalem when a group of men afflicted with leprosy stopped him, begging for healing. After Jesus healed them and sent them to show themselves to the priests, only one returned – a Samaritan, a member of the ethnic group famously at odds with the Jews. A significant portion of today’s existing Samaritan population can still be found at nearby Mt. Gerizim.
The shadowy, candlelit church built to memorialize the story houses orthodox icons depicting the biblical event. At the far end of the structure, beyond the artwork and rows of wooden pews, is the cave that was said to house the lepers. According to tradition, the infected men were confined to the cave in order to prevent the spread of their disease. Food and water were lowered down to them through a hole in the ceiling, which is still visible today.
The church is still used in present times as a place of worship by Burqin’s small Orthodox Christian community.
Sites in the Jenin Region:
While walking through the agriculturally and historically rich fields of the Dothan Valley, take a short detour to explore the archaeological findings of the nearby Tel Dothan excavations. As you go, peer into the depths of a few gaping stone wells that hark back to the story of Joseph – a narrative that unfolded in the very fields in which you are standing.
Climb the grassy hill outside the village of Ta’anek and poke around in the layers of archaeological history on top. Among the tall grasses and the shady olive groves, discover the remnants of ancient caves, burial sites, stone courtyards, and thick city walls – all against a background of sweeping views of the surrounding Jezreel Valley.