NEVE SHALOM, Israel – The wait is finally over. The 2012 Gezer Water System Dig begins tomorrow. Over the past three days there have been many trips from Neve Shalom to Tel Aviv to pick up weary team members after the long flights to Israel. Now the first wave of the Gezer team has assembled and is ready to start tomorrow.
While volunteers toured sites like Lachish, Gath, Caesarea, Mt. Carmel and Megiddo over the past two days, Dr. Jim Parker put the finishing touches on the safety report which is required by the Israeli government for dig teams. Tomorrow the team will head to Tel Gezer at 6:30 a.m. and begin implementing the safety measures and making final preparations to the site. Volunteers will fill and place sandbags borders around paths and sandbags will be used to construct steps inside the tunnel. Lighting and catch fences will be installed in the tunnel.
As I rode over on the plane my thoughts drifted to the men who carved this tunnel between 3,000-4,000 years ago. Though we have seen and even admired their handiwork, their lives are a mystery. What were they like? What were their thoughts and dreams? How difficult was their daily struggle for survival? Did they have families? Were they forced into labor?
These men must have had hard lives. They lived in constant threat in Gezer. Armies traveling up and down the coastal road could come at any moment and lay they city to waste. It happened many times over Gezer’s history. A season of bad weather could wipe out their crops and put their lives in jeopardy.
And tomorrow I, and others in our group, will be digging where they dug -- exposing their work which has been covered so long.
As I thought about these men and the mysteries of their lives I thought about how strange our lives would seem to them. From the plane we flew in to the cars we drive and the electronic gadgets we use, our lives would confuse these men. And for the Gezerites, who faced wars and rumors of wars as well as famine, the most astonishing thing about our lives would probably be the safety and stability (vocational, financial and political) that we all enjoy.