Mary’s Well: But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. (Luke 1:30-31)
Park and walk up to the Well’s Front Side on stone pathway.
Mary’s Well is a public fountain at the center of downtown Nazareth on the main road. It is built over a well which has been used since the Byzantine era. Mary’s Well is fed by Mary’s Spring. Mary’s Spring runs under the altar of the Church of St. Gabriel, which is about 200 meters north of Mary’s Well.
The structure today was built in the 1960s. It is a rather simple stone structure, in the middle of a brick courtyard. There are a few shade trees to make the visit tranquil. The spring can be seen from the concave backside of the well. It is a reconstruction of a well-house, looking more like a stone water trough, from the 1800s.
Mary’s Well stands over the ancient public well of Nazareth. However, no water currently flows into it. In 1997, archaeological excavations by Yardenna Alexandre and Butrus Hana found Byzantine and Crusader-era tunnels connecting the well to the houses of the area. Pottery from the second century was also found.
Religious tradition suggests that Mary received the message from Angel Gabriel about her pregnancy with Jesus (typically called the Annunciation) while getting water. As early as the second century, this story is told in a Christian text called “Protevangelium of James.” “And she took the pitcher, and went out to fill it with water. And, behold, a voice saying: Hail, thou who hast received grace; the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou among women! (Protevangelium of James)
The Biblical account found in Luke only says that Gabriel went to Mary to announce she was chosen to bear Jesus, the son of God. It does not state where the Annunciation happened or what Mary was doing.
Mary’s Well History
Even if you don’t believe the Annunciation was at the well, Mary’s Well is still the likely place Mary and Jesus would have gotten water regularly. It is reliable to assume, due to the large amount of archaeological findings, that ancient Nazareth citizens used Mary’s Well as the primary water source for the village.
The actual location for the annunciation is debatable. The Greek Orthodox Church in Nazareth believe that St. Gabriel Church is the site of the annunciation, while the Catholic community in Nazareth attribute the location to the Basilica of the Annunciation, built over the presumed former home of Mary, the mother of Jesus.