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Israel Holy Trip tour 2018 Day 5: the oldest construction in the world

October 6, 2018

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Yesterday was fun and fulfilling.

Fun, because once more we ventured through Jerusalem and took in some historical sites –  the Roman Cardo was one of them.  This is a main road that was lined with impressive stone columns along its length, many which are still standing in the Old City. Originating at the northern Damascus Gate and running to the Zion Gate, the Cardo takes you back in time to where the thoroughfare was filled with shops and soldiers moving about the city.

It was also fun because I did my first haggling over some items I was trying to purchase.  I am not a haggler by nature, but this was a pretty enjoyable experience – even though I walked away from one seller and was poked and told that I was a “bad person.”

Yes, it was a great time.

It was also fulfilling because, well, you take in so much in the day.

There are times during the course of this trip that you lay your head back on the bus seat and close your eyes; you’ll be asleep in about ten seconds.  There are other times when you cannot put your camera down; you want to photograph every square centimeter of the surrounding view.  Still other times you want to stand and listen to Dr. Hudson and just take it all in, a bit at a time.

But it’s like, as Dr. Hudson says, like trying to drink from a fire hose.  It’s coming at you full force.  This happens every day of the trip.  We step back, look at each other and raise our eyebrows.  We breathe deeply and shake our heads. Then we say something stupid, like

Wow.

Yes, it happened again yesterday.

We went to the Jericho Wall.

This is Pre-Pottery Neolithic period, which is to say safely that this was a construction earlier than 8000 BC.  In other words, this is the oldest man-made wall in the world.

We walked up the pathway along the dirt road

This is the Jericho of Joshua and the falling wall.  This is the Jericho of Zaccheus.

This is where we realize the significance of the past ages.  We could picture in our mind’s eye the advancement of Joshua and the Israelites, so noted in the Biblical book of Joshua in chapter 6.  We try hard to imagine the soldiers and citizens looking over the ramparts and trying to figure out this strange group of invaders who are approaching.  I look about the sections of excavated hillside and see the different time periods, as pointed out by Dr. Hudson, and see the deep early constructions and try to visualize the toilers of the early ages creating the altar, storage areas and protective walls.  I think beyond the brutality of battle and try to imagine the people of the land sitting down and chatting about the events of the day – this Jesus is dining with the notorious Zaccheus the tax collector in his very house!

Where did it happen?  How many people tried to peek through the window?  What change overcame the city?

This is the conflict of trips such as these:  the discoveries you make are at the same time exciting and exhausting. Your whole concept of the Bible passages you read get re-organized. You can now visualize things in a whole fresh light.  That in itself makes it exciting but it also renovates your pre-conceived thoughts about such stories you have read and heard over the years.  It is the mental equivalent of boot camp – you are hard-exercising cerebral muscles that you had let go into “cruise control” for so many years in your concept of a Bible event.  This new effort is hard but also profitable; you leave each site with a new, deeper, and maybe a bit stronger mental and spiritual grasp.

The mounds are huge.  The place is dry and dusty.  I cannot remember when I have been so excited about a mound of dirt.  God is the God of dirt and civilizations and history and victory.  God’s fingerprint is on this place.

This is deep Biblical history and, yes, I got excited.  And a bit overwhelmed.

So did we all.

I want to tell you about a special site at Tay Beh – a 1600 year old church named St. George’s – but the hotel lobby is filling up and some elderly but eager tourists from another group want to sit and have coffee and chat.

I must go.

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