Sing: Let There Be Peace On Earth, UMH 431
“The Crossroads of History” has become a cliché but it can be truly said of Megiddo. A site of human occupation dating back to a least 6000 BC, the Tel of Megiddo (a Tel is an archeological term for a mound or hill containing the remains of successive layers of human settlement) rises 200 feet above the surrounding countryside. Archeologists have found the remains of at least 20 cities in the layers of this 15-acre site.
Megiddo is best known as a battleground. The Apostle John’s apocalyptic vision in the Book of Revelation names Megiddo (Armageddon from the Greek Harmagedon or Mountain of Megiddo) as the site of the next-to-last battle on Earth. It is also the site of the first recorded battle on Earth; the 15th century BC battle between Thutmose III and the resident Canaanites. Egyptians, Canaanites, Ancient Israelites, Greeks, Romans, Byzantine, Muslims, Crusaders, Mamlukes, Mongols, Persians, French, Ottomans, British, Germans, Arabs, and Israelis all fought on this blood-stained battlefield in the Holy Land.
As we left the visitor’s center it was cold and raining and windy but we were determined to see one of the most important archeological sites in Israel. We entered near a stairway that is about 2,700 years old and went up a ramp built into the hillside. Once on top we crossed through the Canaanite city gates that are about 3,500 years old and moved through the site to the side of a trench that was dug in the early twentieth century AD. After digging through many layers the archeologists stopped when they exposed a worship area that appears to have been used for about 2,000 years beginning in 3000 BC. From our spot above this trench we could also look out over the Jezreel Valley to the East.
As we moved back across the tel we saw a 12th century BC palace, 9th century BC stables, and a 7th century BC grain silo. Then we made our way to check out the city’s water supply. A city surrounded and under siege needs to have a water source that is not vulnerable to their enemies. The residents of Megiddo from the time of King Ahab (9th century BC) used a reliable spring just outside their walls and at the bottom of their hill (tel). They dug a shaft straight down from inside the city and at the same time dug a downward sloping tunnel from the spring toward the base of the shaft. The entrance to the spring was then sealed up and covered and their water source was secured. We walked down a modern steel staircase to the bottom of the shaft – we were glad to get out of the cold, blowing rain – and then through the upward sloping tunnel to the spring. We climbed up out of the spring and then walked out to our warm and dry bus.
This is another site which I had wanted to visit – Armageddon! I wish the weather had been a little better so that we might have taken a bit more time on top of the tel and been able to see a bit more of the countryside around us. But this is God’s time and God may have something better in store for us