Background Information on Abila
One very important consideration that provides understanding of the strategic location and prominence of these cities in the Decapolis league is found in Mark 7:31: ("Then Jesus left the vicinity of Tyre and went through Sidon, down to the Sea of Galilee and into the region of the Decapolis.") [NIV]. Jesus considered this region important enough to visit! This lends credence to the idea that these cities were prominent in antiquity. Did Jesus' itinerary include Abila? This question may never be answered conclusively, due to the lack of hard evidence, but it goes without saying that Abila was a very important city, within close proximity to Galilee, being only 12 Roman miles from Gadara. It was located on a strategic route from Nabataea to Damascus, and it had a bountiful water source and equally bountiful agricultural lands. One must remember the words of the Egyptologist, Kenneth Kitchen, "Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence." Whether Jesus actually visited Abila physically we may never know, but He was certainly represented there spiritually as the abundance of Christian art and architecture loudly testifies.