What Is Old?
Old is a relative term depending largely on where you are in the world. If you’re in San Francisco, 200 years is old. In Washington, DC, 300 years is old. In Norway 500 years is old. But in Israel, old often hovers around the time of Christ.
I have often wondered if there is any spot in Israel where you could dig down and not find something of interest. Today we visited a convent in Nazareth started by French sisters over a hundred years ago. It was just a church until a rock fell through a crack and revealed the existence of three levels below. The result was the excavation of a space that has Byzantine vaulted arches, that has an ancient cistern, that has stairs that now lead nowhere, and that has a tomb with a round stone door from the time of Christ at its lowest level. Now that old in just about anyone’s book! The coins and glass shards that have been unearthed attest to over two thousand years of layered history.
It’s the climate and geologic formations in the Middle East that equip this area to grow older and older with a historical trail. I find myself constantly closing my eyes and trying to imagine what it must have been like to experience life so long ago in these places where we walk as tourists today.