When You Read the Bible, You Need to “Be” There

Years ago, I signed up for summer Hebrew course in Israel. That way, I’d be able to absorb the sights and sounds of the land as I studied. The class was held at a retreat center a few miles outside Jerusalem, and everywhere you looked you could see evidence of the ancient Israelites.


Judean hillside


We’d meet for class all morning, and then the afternoons were dedicated to homework and review. Each day after lunch I’d make a point of hiking into the countryside and doing my homework under a tree, so that I could enjoy the hoo-hoo-hoot of the mourning doves and the wafting scent of the cedar trees.

These terraced limestone hills had been farmed by Israelites thousands of years earlier. A person didn’t need to look far to find an ancient basin hewn into the rock where a farmer had once stomped his grapes to press out juice for wine. Or, a pottery shard from a water jug hefted by a peasant girl in King David’s time. Biblical reminders were everywhere. I could just imagine the characters alive around me once again.

Every day as I headed out after lunch for my favorite tree, I’d walk past a group of college students who were also in my class. They’d be clustered tightly in a corner of the air-conditioned reception office, where they’d…

We’ve Found the Emmaus Road and It’s Crumbling

Have you ever wished you could have been nearby when Jesus explained the Scriptures to the disciples on the Emmaus Road in Luke 24? Wouldn’t it be great to just see where this road was?

Lois Tverberg on the Emmaus Road in 2006Believe it or not, scholars have known its location for decades now. The remains of the Roman road are visible if you take a walk in an undeveloped area in village next to Jerusalem called Motza.

You might think there would be some kind of Christian tourist park or at least markers pointing out the location. There’s nothing though. You just need to know where to look.

You might be surprised (and maybe relieved) that there is no gift shop with holy tchotchkes nearby. The lack of interest has been a problem, though. Because no effort has been made to preserve the road, it has been crumbling in recent years.

Check out David Bivin’s recent report in Jerusalem Perspective called “A Farewell to the Emmaus Road,” where he explains the historical evidence for the site. He also describes the destruction going on and includes videos and dozens of pictures taken over the years. It’s a must read!

I’ve visited the Emmaus road about 3 or 4 times since 1999, and have seen the change over time myself. The picture above was from when I visited in 2006. A larger image is…