Lo­cal pas­tor ex­cited to lead Holy land pil­grim­age

Tillsonburg News - - OPINION -

over the past few years, pas­tor paul robin­son and his wife Carol from Till­son­burg have led sev­eral pil­grim­ages to the Holy land, but the trip they have planned next april will be es­pe­cially mem­o­rable when world-fa­mous ar­chae­ol­o­gist, eli shukron, will be their guide.

“We’ve al­ways had amaz­ing trips,” said pas­tor robin­son, “but we’re ab­so­lutely thrilled to have eli shukron as our guide for this one. He comes with amaz­ing cre­den­tials!”

The Jewish ar­chae­ol­o­gist’s rep­u­ta­tion is in­deed le­gendary. em­ployed by the is­raeli an­tiq­ui­ties author­ity, shukron has served for the past 20 years as co-direc­tor of the City of david ar­chae­o­log­i­cal dig. That dig - in the heart of Jerusalem - has gone down to the time when the bi­b­li­cal King david ruled Jerusalem!

“What they’ve dis­cov­ered is re­mark­able,” says paul. “one of the finds was a mas­sive 3,800-year-old fortress near the gi­hon spring.”

Called the “spring Ci­tadel” by ar­chae­ol­o­gists, the huge struc­ture is be­lieved to be the fortress the book of samuel says King david conquered. as the bible tells it, david and his men marched to Jerusalem against the Je­busites who in­hab­ited the land. and though the Je­busites be­lieved their fortress would never fall, “nev­er­the­less, david took the strong­hold of Zion, which is now the City of david.” (2 samuel 5:7)

The world-renowned ar­chae­ol­o­gist made sev­eral other sig­nif­i­cant finds along the way. in 2004, he and col­league ronny re­ich from the univer­sity of Haifa dis­cov­ered the fa­mous pool of siloam named in the new Tes­ta­ment as the site of a heal­ing by Je­sus.

Three years later, the two ex­ca­vated a wa­ter chan­nel that drained an­cient Jerusalem and found ev­i­dence that it was the very tun­nel de­scribed by Jose­phus as the es­cape route used when the city was even­tu­ally torched.

add to that the 2014 ex­ca­va­tion of the fa­mous Ci­tadel of david along with sev­eral other as­tound­ing dis­cov­er­ies, and one can see why the Till­son­burg pas­tor is ex­cited about the trip.

says pas­tor robin­son, “added to all the other tra­di­tional sites we’ll visit, these more re­cent dis­cov­er­ies re­ally do take it over the top!”

some of those usual sites in­clude mount Carmel where, ac­cord­ing to the bible, the old Tes­ta­ment prophet eli­jah had a dra­matic show­down with the prophets of baal.

as fas­ci­nat­ing as the site is for its old Tes­ta­ment his­tory, “What re­ally im­pacts folk,” he said, “is the view from the moun­tain be­cause stretch­ing out be­low is the plain of Jezreel. a nat­u­ral bat­tle­field it’s seen 34 bat­tles over his­tory, in­clud­ing one be­tween bri­tish and Turk­ish forces in 1918, as well as one in 1948 and an­other dur­ing the six-day war in 1967. it is also known as The val­ley of megiddo af­ter a town that sits in the mid­dle of the val­ley.

“in He­brew the name is ‘Harmegiddo’ from which we get the word ‘ar­maged­don.’ be­cause that is where the book of rev­e­la­tion pre­dicts the fi­nal ‘bat­tle of all bat­tles’ will take place!”

The trip next april - the fifth such pil­grim­age the robin­sons have led - will also in­clude float­ing on the dead sea, as­cend­ing to the masada Fortress, a visit to the Holo­caust me­mo­rial, shop­ping in the arab mar­ket in old Jerusalem, a visit to the gar­den of geth­se­mane and gol­go­tha, Com­mu­nion in the gar­den near the empty Tomb, there, and a mul­ti­tude of other unique, once-in-al­ife­time ex­pe­ri­ences.

“We know it’s go­ing to be an­other deeply mov­ing ex­pe­ri­ence,” says pas­tor paul.

He may well be right! any­one in­ter­ested in know­ing more about the trip can email paul at pas­torp@live.ca.

Con­trib­uted photo

Pas­tor Paul Robin­son and his wife Carol near the Jor­dan River.

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