The Book & The Spade
Tells, Tombs, Tunnels and Treasures Holyland Tour
Emek Tzurim Sifting
Tel es Safi/Gath
Beer Sheva, Lachish, and Maresha
February 27, 2008
by Judith Block
In our very lovely hotel in Beer Sheva, I noticed that the toilet seat was from the Bemis company in Sheboygan Falls, WI. We formerly lived within seven miles of this company, and their motto is BE SEATED BY BEMIS!! (Not BEMA). Our morning Bible reading on the bus was Psalm 94.
We went to Tel Beer Sheva with Randy Smith's group. It is an Israeli fortress built on a Canaanite city. There was an altar of cut stones at this site with four horn shapes on the corners. God had said to NOT cut the stones but the builders of the altar did not obey this instruction. Abraham dug a well at Beer Sheva (there is a well at the city gate) and sensed God's peace in his obedience. Once again our exit from the tel was through the water system. For this water system we needed to don hard hats.
We then went to Tel Lachish, which was invaded by both the Assyrians and the Babylonians. Over 1500 bodies were found, as well as a siege ramp and a counter siege ramp. The Jews were warned of the coming invasion by a runner who had a message that said: "We are finished - you are next."
Beit Guvrin/Tel Maresha was next as we made our way north. The amphitheater we saw was well preserved. Randy's summation of the history of this city was similar to what we are seeing today:
Randy told us that GOOD can come out of BAD but we are unqualified to make the decision of what is good or bad in our lives. The episode of Philip and the Ethiopian Eunuch, recounted in the book of Acts, happened in this area.
We then went to Maresha's Columbarium - underground caves where pigeons were kept for food, feathers, fertilizer and sacrifices. Then, on the other side of the tel, we scurried through a labyrinth of underground caves that had connected all of the above-ground houses. The park service then allowed us to visit, minutes before closing, the beautiful bell caves which (among other things) were used in the Jesus Christ Superstar film.
Our next stop was the Elah Valley where David defeated Goliath. Many of our group went in search of five smooth stones. A profound life application from Randy was: YOUR HISTORY DOES NOT DETERMINE YOUR FUTURE - RATHER YOUR CHOICES DO. This was in regard to David's life and good advice for today.
We then drove UP TO JERUSALEM while Ellen read several Psalms as we approached. Our ten-story hotel had a lovely reception and dining room - where we celebrated Sandy Minor's birthday at dinner time. Tomorrow we will see the OLD CITY of Jerusalem for the first time.