Jericho: Biblical, Archeological, Fascinating
Jericho is an intriguing wellspring of historical interest, and Christians regularly visit the town to see the layers of the centuries unfold. If you’re in Israel this summer, be sure to make a day trip of any of these top spots and fabulous finds.
Mount of Temptation Trail & Monastery
The most important Christian-significant location in the area, the Mount of Temptation is where Jesus first fasted following his baptism by John the Baptist. St. Chariton built a lovely chapel on this location, adding another one to the cave where Jesus was said to have taken rest. The monastery, called the Sarandarion Monastery, was built sometime later, and tourists will enjoy the brisk hike. If you aren’t up for the activity, you can also use the cable cars to ascend and partake in the fantastic view.
Truly a work of art, Hisham’s Palace is an archeological tragedy of unrealized potential. The vast structure was started in 724 AD, but it never saw its completion. An earthquake ravaged the lands, destroying the beginnings of this palace, and it was left unattended for centuries. Finally, in 1937, archeologists took notice of the unusual ruins and discovered the palace again. Today, the area is set up in its original square floor plan. On display are several prominent and beautiful elements including grand pillars, a tremendous bath house, and a small chamber to the side. The most striking feature here, though, is the exquisite mosaic that has been expertly preserved, artfully showing gazelles, lions, and trees.
The Good Samaritan Museum
Any Bible reader knows well the story of the Good Samaritan told in Luke. An unfortunate man has his belongings stolen. He is then beaten nearly to death and left on the roadside. Both priest and Levite pass the stricken stranger, but neither stop to assist the man. At last, the Good Samaritan passes by, sees the fallen man, and helps him by tending to his wounds and then brings him to an inn in the area. The Inn, or museum as many call it, is thought to be a repurposed Herodian palace that was converted into an inn for passing travelers.
There’s also Elijah’s Spring (aka Sultan’s Spring), Zaccheus’ Tree, and the Monastery of St. Gerassimos to visit while you’re here.