|Dr. Dennis Cole and Dr. Dan Warner explore the cavern|
By Dr. Dennis Cole
The recent breakthrough into the cavern of the Gezer water system is the lagniappe to the overall goals of the Center for Archaeological Research (CAR) at NOBTS. These goals, as stated in the CAR web site, include the development of students, faculty, and laypersons in the endeavor to understand the Bible more fully in the depth and breadth of scholarship. The Tel Gezer Project began with NOBTS sponsorship in 2006 to explore this pivotal site in the history of Israel and Canaan, beginning with the exposure of the fortifications believed to be dated to the time of King Solomon. That project has continued under the leadership of SWBTS, and NOBTS branched off in the Gezer Water System Project to explore the water resource technology utilized by ancient peoples of the land. Students from more than a dozen colleges, seminaries, and universities have learned various aspects of the archaeological methodology necessary to give them the foundation for future biblical and archaeological research.
As water resource management issues are a vital part of the ongoing need in modern Israel, Palestine, and the region of the Southern Levant, so the peoples of the Bronze and Iron Ages were intensive in their development of those limited resources that were at their disposal. The Old Testament mentions several periods of drought through its history, from the Age of the Patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to the time Elijah and the conflict with Ahab and Jezebel over the matter of true religion. God's promises of full provision for the needs of his people were directly tied to their faithfulness to and worship of him as the One True God.
So our goals as we continue to explore this vital ancient resource are to better understand how the ancient peoples determined how to access the resources from within their cities, to better comprehend the technology utilized to access the resource, and to explore the nature of the resource itself.
The Gezer Water System project is co-sponsored by the Israel Nature and Parks Authority and New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary under the direction of Tsvika Tsuk, chief archaeologist at INPA, and Dan Warner, co-director of the Center for Archaeological Research at NOBTS.