I am writing this blog from moshav Yad Hashmonah, 8 miles west of Jerusalem in Israel. It is the middle weekend of our two week excavation at Khirbet el-Maqatir, 10 miles north of Jerusalem. I dug here throughout the 90’s and we reopened the dig again last year (see my blog from 6/18/09). I dug the area of the city gate to bedrock last year and am working on the city’s west wall this year.
Flying in last weekend and digging all week, I was glad to have two days off. While we are so close to Jerusalem, I have chosen to stay here at our dig headquarters doing dig paperwork and Helping Up Mission homework. Yesterday (Saturday) I attended a congregation of Jewish believers in Jesus at the moshav and the speaker shared from the Proverbs. After the service was over, I got a real sense that the Lord wanted me to go take some time in the book and prepare some new things for back home at Helping Up Mission.
I admit, I was a little surprised that I did not jump in one of the cars that went to Jerusalem either day, but I have been thoroughly blessed by my study here. I always say in class that our spiritual address (in Christ) is always more important than our physical address (Yad Hashmonah or Jerusalem, Israel or America). I learned the concept from Philippians 1:1 (where Paul address both addresses for the Philippians) I am finding that to be true for me here right now.
The site we are digging is called today Khirbet el-Maqatir (Arabic) but we think it was the city of Ai in the Bible (Joshua 7-8), the second city Joshua captured after crossing the Jordan River. Just a short note about what we are finding – weaponry (a bunch of sling stones, a bronze spearpoint and a stone arrowhead) and lots of evidence of burning all around the city gate area. For the reason we are here, this is all good stuff. Stay tuned and I will keep you posted.
Pastor Gary Byers
Spiritual Life Director
PS You can keep up with the research and updates at our website www.Biblearchaeology.org.