Friday, August 14, 2009

Biblical and Modern Jezreel

Aviva Bar-Am has written an informative article about ancient Jezreel and its modern counterparts in the Jerusalem Post.  The first half discusses the battles around the village in 1948 and the kibbutz that was established there.  The second half describes the biblical and archaeological significance, including this part:

Although archeologists have uncovered portions of a tower, found the city gate and dug to the bottom of the moat, the biblical Jezreel is overgrown with weeds and there isn't much to see (I am also not sure how safe it is - there are open pits). It is much more fun to spend time at the tel's excellent recreation site, centered by a striking monument to Palmah troops who fell here in 1948. From the heights of the tel you have a fantastic view of the Harod and Beit She'an valleys. Enjoy the shade produced by the fruit trees in the lovely reconstruction of Naboth's plot.

You can also follow a lovely biblical trail on the northern edge of the mountain down the slope for about 35 minutes (allow about 50 minutes for walking back up). A delightful surprise awaits you at the bottom: the Jezreel Spring. It is one of 48 freshwater, full springs that lie under the mountain, the result of geological changes that occurred when the Syrian African Rift raised Mount Gilboa and lowered the valley.

Before you jump into the inviting pool, set within a grove of eucalyptus trees, look for a shaft a few meters from the end of the trail. It leads underground to a tunnel which you and your kids can enter (with a flashlight!), walk through water and end up on the other side of the road in a canal that leads directly to the pool.

The spring, of course, is mentioned in the Bible (isn't everything in this region?) "The Philistines gathered all their forces at Aphek, and Israel camped by the spring in Jezreel..." [I Samuel 29:1].

The full article is here.

HT: Joe Lauer

Harod Valley, Mt Gilboa, Jezreel aerial fr w, tb121704019 captions Tell Jezreel and Mount Gilboa from west

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