Wow. What a day. It was packed full of surprises, adventures, and a plethora of sights that I will never forget. This whole day covers a spectrum of my loves.
Having learned about Gezer in Intro to Biblical Studies, I was pumped up to get there and see it in person. Before we left for breakfast this morning I was rapping about my excitement for Gezer to my wonderful (and rather tolerant of my crazy) roommate. Imagine how elated I was when archaeologist Dr. Shvitkah (I’m not sure how he spells it) took us down to see the large water system that he had uncovered within days of them reaching the water source! He did his PhD on water systems of antiquity. He gave us an overview of the National Park system in Israel was interesting with half being archaeological endeavors and the other half on nature preservation as well as the background of the site at Gezer itself. The care (besides McAllister’s accidental damage to the water system) that has been taken there juxtaposed to the site at Jericho made me rather sad. It’s a shame that funds are not readily available for all the sites throughout and around the Holy Land.
After going through the Conquest at Gezer, we headed over to the hill above Gibeon. It was a place great to see the various surrounding sites regarding Saul and Samuel. Each day it hits me a little more how helpful it is being able to visualize where these events most likely took place. At this site we heard from Professor Eric Newburgh of Oral Roberts University about the Crusades. It was a good reminder that Jesus did not come to conquer the land through violence but rather win the hearts of the people as a peacemaker and the Messiah.
The view of the pass at Michmash was magnificent. I wish we could have gotten closer, but the panoramic view gave great context to the narrative of Jonathon and his armor bearer from 1 Samuel 13-14. What a sight it must have been to see such a small group of soldiers relative to the Philistine army drive them out back to Philistine territory over that terrain.
Jericho was more depressing than anything with the poor state of the site and the oppressive heat. One side of the site was relatively intact. The tower was still recognizable, but none of the walls around it were fortified, so any rain that comes through sinks the walls. The northern area of the Tell at Jericho was so sad. The mud walls had been demolished overtime by the elements and looked like they were crying with the dried drips along the cavern. After a quick stop at the store for a bathroom break and Magnum respite, we headed over to Wadi Qelt in the Wilderness.
The meditation at the Wilderness was the perfect way to end our time at Benjamin today. During our independent time, I reread Matthew 4 and Mark 1. As the Temple Mount and Church of the Holy Sepulcher reminded me of Jesus’ humanity, the Wilderness reminded me of Jesus’s divinity. The vast sea of rocks is practically a playground of temptation that any person would fall into; only Jesus can resist the Evil One. What a God we worship!