Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Gezer 2015 - Day Eight: He set my feet on the Rock

Psalm 40
1 I waited patiently for the Lord;

    He turned to me and heard my cry.

2 He lifted me out of the slimy pit,

    out of the mud and mire;

He set my feet on a rock

    and gave me a firm place to stand.

3 He put a new song in my mouth,

    a hymn of praise to our God.

Many will see and fear the Lord

    and put their trust in Him.

By Gary D. Myers

As the underground digging team climbed out of the Gezer water system for lunch today, Psalm 40 came to mind. David’s imagery came to life in a new and special way. We had been in sinking in soupy mud all morning. The muck was so bad that it was easy to sink past your ankles and lose your shoes when you tried to move. The muck wore us out quickly. But when any of us found a rock to stand, the digging was much easier. In fact, finding a firm spot was the only way to keep from sinking. 

The parallels are so clear an explanation probably isn’t need. Once I was trapped and sinking when God reached down and lifted me out of the mess of my own making and set me on the Rock (Jesus). I know what that feels like spiritually … I know what that feels like physically. I’m glad to have a new source to draw from when I talk what God has done on my behalf. During this trip we’ve walked in the footsteps of David, Solomon, Paul and Jesus. We’ve talked about how God led the Israelites to this land after years of slavery in Egypt and we have talked about God deliverance after Hezekiah prayed. But for me, one of the most profound moments came during a real-life object lesson in a Canaanite water system when I was ankle deep in mud.

Check out U2’s song “40” where is about this chapter in Psalms.
Seeking the bottom
Down in the water system we are desperately seeking that firm ground at the bottom of the pool/basin area. Last season, we kept experiencing step downs in that area. Each time we thought we had reached the bottom, the floor would drop again. It was frustrating and confusing. While we have just moved a meter and a half back into the system, we are now more than three meters below the “last step.” On the Southern wall of the basin we have removed what amounts to a 4 ft. X 4 ft. X 10 ft. rectangle of dirt plus countless tons of rock above Macalister’s causeway (the course of stones the original archaeologist laid on the soggy basin area to reach the cavern beyond the water system). It had been a slow process, but we really made progress the past two days.

Over at the Neighbor’s House
Things continue to go well at Eli’s house. The team has encountered it’s share of Macalister fill. The Irish archaeologist cut large trenches across the tel during his excavations in the early 1900s. His methods left dumped material all around the tel and complicated the work of future archaeologists. However, it seems that the team has broken through all the previously excavated material in at least one part of the area. There the team discovered what appears to be a burn layer, possibly from one of the many times Gezer was destroyed by invading armies. The investigation continues.

Sleeping In
Today, the directors gave us a break.  We didn’t leave Neve Shalom until 7 a.m. instead of the usually 6 a.m. The extra sleep was great. We are all getting a bit worn down. Living out of a suit case can be tough and we are really working hard at the tel. It was especially helpful for the crew that worked last Friday and Saturday to build the ramp (they’ve worked 10 straight, hard days). Back to the regular schedule tomorrow … we’ll be ready. I am so hopefully that tomorrow will be the day that we find the absolute bottom of the water system. If not tomorrow, maybe the next day.

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