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Ancient Ruins

by | May 9, 2011 | , | Holy Land Highlights | 5 comments

“We do not follow maps to a buried treasure, and X never marks the spot.”

“That belongs in a museum!”

“If you want to be a good archaeologist, you’ve got to get out of the library.”

“I’ve got a bad feeling about this.”

“Snakes…I hate snakes.”

I’m sure if you’re an archaeology enthusiast like me, you’ll recognize these quotes from one of Hollywood’s famous archaeologists – Indiana Jones. Indy travelled the world in search of famous hidden treasures, ruins and sites. From the Ark of the Covenant to the Holy Grail, he found himself in many dangerous situations. Of course these movies are all fiction, but they’re fun to watch as Indy uncovers ancient secrets.

Archaeology has always fascinated me, so when we came across archaic ruins in Israel, I was on the edge of my seat lost in Indy’s world. Many fictional stories went through my head as we saw site after site. I wondered what it would have been like to live in those days. And, what it was like to uncover these ruins.

I will only mention a few of the sites, as there are too many to talk about! As you can imagine, we did not explore all these sites in one day, but as we travelled around Israel.

First, we visited Caesarea (built by King Herod – the paranoid king) and enjoyed sitting in the ‘theatre’ where they still show comedies and tragedies today. We even sang on the stage. Amazing acoustics! Next, we walked to the hippodrome where the horse races took place back in that era.

As we travelled up the Mediterranean Coast we stopped at Megiddo, an ancient city where many battles were fought. We walked through King’s Solomon’s Gate and to the top where the view is breathtaking! Archaeological expeditions are still happening there today.

In Korazim (city known for condemning Jesus), we visited an ancient Jewish synagogue. As we sat in the ruins, our guide shared different Jewish customs. Such an amazing learning experience.

Next we travelled to the village of Capernaum. Excavations have revealed one house that stood out and it is believed to be that of Peter. Today, a church is built overtop of it. You can literally look down into where Peter lived. Just down the road is another famous synagogue. It was fun to imagine Jesus speaking to the crowds. People hanging on to his every word. This was also a city rebuked by Jesus for their lack of faith. Would we have been among those who didn’t believe?

Another exhilarating archaeological dig revealed many cities at Bet She’an (or Beit She’an) National Park. This site contains 15 layers. This means there were 15 cities jumbled on top of each other! We sat in a theatre, saw what the ancient co-ed bathrooms looked like (check out the picture), and walked down roads travelled by kings and queens of old.

Indiana Jones would have had a field day in all of these sites (provided there weren’t any snakes)!

As I think of the ruins and sites we visited throughout Israel, a song by Steven Curtis Chapman comes to my mind. It’s a song written from the depths of pain. Even when we go through heartache and trials, our “ruins” will become beautiful. The ugliness turns into splendour. We learn from the ashes. It takes awhile to get there, but God will help us. We just have to trust.

Will you dance among the ruins and let your beauty rise?

“Beauty Will Rise” by Steven Curtis Chapman

It was the day the world went wrong

I screamed ‘til my voice was gone

And watched through the tears as everything came crashing down

Slowly panic turns to pain

As we awake to what remains

And sift through the ashes that are left behind

But buried deep beneath

All our broken dreams we have this hope

Out of these ashes

Beauty will rise

And we will dance among the ruins

We will see it with our own eyes

Out of these ashes

Beauty will rise

For we know joy is coming in the morning

In the morning

Beauty will rise

Theatre at Caesarea

Hippodrome – horses would race around this middle section

Ancient city of Megiddo

Sue in the tunnel at Megiddo (tunnel built 2,700 years ago-not the stairs!)

Ruins of a Jewish synagogue – Korazim National Park

Looking down into Peter’s house in Capernaum

Synagogue in Capernaum

Bet She’an National Park – Road down the city

Co-ed “toilets” – of course you sit ‘between’ the slabs!


  1. Heather

    The pictures are amazing and add more food for thought to your story.

  2. Julie Richmond

    What a great way to reference that song. Loved this entry, so cool!! The pictures definitely add to the story!

  3. susan steeves

    It was a great journey. My favorite was Capernaum (Peters’ house) and of course the community toilets. Thanks for not putting the other picture you took!!!! Beauty Will Rise is my favourite Steven Curtis Chapman song from the new CD. We have to believe this will happen. Love ya Sue

    • Darlene

      I was tempted to put that picture in! HA!

      • Julie Richmond


        Yes Mom, we do need to believe Beauty Will Rise.


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