Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Jericho

 Looking out over the city of Jericho-
 the oldest continually settled city in the world- 
since 9600 B.C.
This was the first Canaanite town to be conquered
 by the children of Israel,
 with its walls falling to the blowing of Joshua's trumpets.
Joshua 2; 5:13-6:27
The city was later rebuilt by the Hasmoeans. 
Jericho and its balsam gardens were given to Cleopatra
 by the Roman ruler, Anthony.
The ancient tel remains mostly unexcavated.
Archeologists have unearthed the remains of
 over 20 successive settlements at this tel.

In 586 BC, the Babylonians invaded
 and Zedekiah was the last king  of Judah.
In 331 BC, Jericho was captured by Alexander the Great
 and used as a resort.
During the Roman occupation in  3 BC,
 the Emporor Octavius Augustus assigned it to King Herod.
Because of its warm climate, Herod built a winter palace about a mile to the SW of Jericho complete with aqueducts and a theater.
It was probably this "new city of Jericho" that Jesus often passed through on his way "up to Jerusalem." 

Red and/or peaked roofs generally
 are identified culturally as Jewish homes.

At 850 feet below sea-level, 
Jericho is the lowest city on earth.
Though situated in sandy wilderness, 
Jericho is a tropical oasis because of Elisha's Spring
 and supports the date palm industry.
 In fact, Jericho is called "the city of palms."

 Jericho is a mostly Arab town-
 with the culturally identified flat roofs.
  Also easy to spot on Arab roof tops
 are the satellite dishes and the water tanks. 
In challenging political times,
 the Arabs fear the shut down
 of both water and communication,
 so Arab houses all over Israel are spotted
 with these two roof top
 emergency planning strategies.


 We visited this humanitarian center here
 that works to bring economic development, 
education and cultural exchange right here in Jericho. 
 Seeds of Hope 
They are working to make a difference
 in the lives of children and their families.


Today this Palestinian city in the West Bank,
 has a population of about 20,000 people.
 It has a high population of Palestinian refugees, 
with a high percentage of children under age 20.
It is certainly a city that once again
 lives to tell the story of the Good Samaritan.

Beautiful tile work in the Seeds of Hope Center-
also available in their gift shop.


No trip to Jericho leaves without stopping
 by the Zaccheus tree, 
one like the sycamore tree  
in the story of the
 regional tax collector- Zacchaeus. 
 Luke 19:1-9
And you just might have to
 sing the song while there too.
 It is also the place that Jesus met Bartimaeus,
 the blind man.
Mark 10:46-52.
A city that reminds us even today-
 that Jesus came for the outcasts.

Jericho was destroyed by the Romans in 68 AD.
 and though it was resettled several times,
 it never again held its former position of influence.

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