Station: [13] The Mud-Walled House: Everyday Village and Town Life in the Time of Jesus

Come on in! The people living in Palestine during the time of Jesus may not have been wealthy ... but they were hospitable! A small mud-walled house had to suffice for a whole extended family – and for their animals as well.

The houses were built of stone or mud bricks and had tiny windows. While they didn’t let in much light, they did keep out much of the heat. The roof was made of wooden beams covered with straw and topped with a layer of clay to make it waterproof.

Have you noticed the ladder outside the house? It’s very important, because daily life largely took place on the flat roofs. That was where the supplies were stored, where people ate their meals and even slept on hot nights. 

For beds, people used straw or thin mats, which were rolled up during the day and only spread out in the evening – probably not very comfortable, but they were quite practical!

Many stories from the New Testament only make sense if you know something about people’s way of life in those days. For example, the Gospel of Mark tells of a paralysed man lying on a mat, who was lowered "through a hole in the roof" by his friends. Considering the pitched roofs in northern Europe, that would have been a hazardous undertaking! 

But let’s move on from the roof. You’re welcome to step inside the house. Open the panels on the walls to get a glimpse of the everyday lives of people 2,000 years ago.

All depictions: © Bibelgalerie Meersburg