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Shepherds’ Field

The caves where the shepherds kept watch over their sheep are still present in the eastern area of Bethlehem. In this location, the Gospel of Luke says an angel came to announce the birth of Jesus. This was a monumental occasion, as the good news was not given to the pious or the noble but to shepherds, who were thought to be workers that had a low reputation in society. Jewish literature had once called shepherds one of the most despised occupations one could hold at the time, but even Jesus went on to identify himself with the job by calling himself "The Good Shepherd.”

The traditional location of the visit of the angel is the town of Beit Sahur, which was originally known as the Village of the Shepherds. Now, it is an eastern suburb of the larger city of Bethlehem. The tradition that is connected with the field becomes a bit complicated as archeologists have identified more than one location where the visit from the angel could have taken place. These locations include the area near the north ridge of Beit Sahur, as well as the eastern part of Beit Sahur where a red-domed Greek Orthodox church is located. The latter is identified with the Tower of Edar mentioned in the Bible.

Though the exact location of the visit still remains a mystery, the Shepherds’ Field is one location that many Christians come to visit especially when on a pilgrimage.

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