The major cities in Israel during New Testament times include the following. In Abilene there was Abila and Damascus. Auranitis also had a city named Abila plus one named Dion. Decapolis, which is east of the Jordan, had Gerasa and Pella.
Galilee contained many important New Testament cities such as Cana, Capernaum, Chorazin, Gadara, Hippos, Magadan, Nain, Nazareth and Tiberias. Idumea, located in the very southern part of Israel, had Beersheba. Ituraea had Caesarea Philippi. Judea contained the important locations of Bethany, Bethlehem, Emmaus, Ephraim, Hebron, Jericho and Jerusalem.
Perea, to the east of the Jordan River, had the city of Philadelphia. Phoenicia, located on the Mediterraen sea coast, contained Sidon, Tyre and Zarephath. Lastly Samaria, from where the Good Samaritan lived, had the cities of Aenon, Salim, Samaria, Scythopolis and Sychar.
Why is it important?
The general area of Israel is strategically situated between Egypt, Syria and Arabia. This location makes the region a major crossroad for religion, culture and commerce. It has also lent to its tumultuous history.
The area, in its long history, has been controlled by empires and powers like the Egyptians, Canaanites, Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, the Crusaders, the Ottoman Empire, the British Empire and others.
Many of Jesus' New Testament miracles occurred in the Galilee region of Israel. Close to half of his disciples lived in the area. About 60% of all the parables Jesus gave during his entire ministry were taught in Galilee. At least three-fourths or 75% of all of Christ's greatest miracles were performed in the Galilean area. Jesus also performed his very first public miracle in the city of Cana.