Unusual Happenings

This past weekend, I had the opportunity to visit some biblical sites that have hitherto been inaccessible to the general ‘Bible site viewing public.’

The sites in question are the ancient site of the city of Samaria, the capital of the northern Kingdom of Israel (1 Kgs. 16.24) the site of Shechem which is featured in many stories from the Patriarchs in Genesis (12.6; 34.2, 4-6, ff.), as well as some stories in Joshua (e.g. ch.24) and Judges (ch.9). The final site I’d not been to was Jacob’s Well which is the probable site of Jesus’ encounter with the Samaritan woman in John 4.4-42.

This was a fantastic day as these sites had been essentially closed due to the political dynamics in the West Bank. JUC had not been able to send a study tour to Samaria in approximately 12 years. Samaria boasts a wall dated to approximately the era of Ahab (9th century BC), which is the finest example of Israelite masonry found in the land. Part of the fun was driving through modern Nablus. Our bus driver quipped that it was just like Jordan. He was right. All the Western site seers were quite the attraction to the locals as they hadn’t seen many in years.

The site of Shechem is being cleaned up and prepared for tourism and to offered as a candidate for a UN World Heritage Site. That is really amazing and will be a boon for the local economy.

The church over Jacob’s Well is essentially a new building, as it has been under renovations for years. The Orthodox Christians there have suffered greatly, to the point where their priest was murdered within the church itself. The icons are vibrant and the church itself is immaculate. Aubrey’s students were able to draw water from the well and most took a tentative sip. The water is extremely pure, coming directly from a spring nearby.

Never a dull day in the Holy Land.

20110703-080442.jpg Israelite wall, Samaria

20110703-080524.jpg Pantokrator icon, Church of Jacob’s Well

20110703-080555.jpg Possible remains of the Temple of El Berit (Jdg. 9.46)


~ by eikonministries on July 3, 2011.

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