Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Moses, Baby Jesus and the Pyramids

Myself and another member of my team got up early one morning before our day really began to try to beat the heat and the crowds and see some of historic Egypt. While obviously sightseeing is NEVER one of our objectives when we travel for ministry, every once in a while we find a few hours in the schedule that are available and we try to squeeze something in. I was very fortunate on this trip.

Beating the heat turned out to be harder than I anticipated. Even early in the morning it is already roasting. In the past I had often wondered "What are the Israelites problem? God rescued them from Egypt and all they do is complain and turn to idols. What is the deal?

After having now been to Egypt I have a whole new understanding for what the Israelites endured during their time of slavery and the subsequent exodus. The country is so hot and so sandy, I cannot fathom how they survived wondering for 40 years in the desert. Add to that a strict diet of manna and I can now begin to understand why they always seemed so grumpy and constantly made poor decisions (although it certainly doesn't justify or excuse their behavior).

We first went to the alleged location that baby Moses was found hiding amongst the reeds of the Nile:

Now a man of the house of Levi married a Levite woman, and she became pregnant and gave birth to a son. When she saw that he was a fine child, she hid him for three months. But when she could hide him no longer, she got a papyrus basket for him and coated it with tar and pitch. Then she placed the child in it and put it among the reeds along the bank of the Nile. His sister stood at a distance to see what would happen to him. Then Pharaoh's daughter went down to the Nile to bathe, and her attendants were walking along the river bank. She saw the basket among the reeds and sent her slave girl to get it. She opened it and saw the baby. He was crying, and she felt sorry for him. "This is one of the Hebrew babies," she said. Then his sister asked Pharaoh's daughter, "Shall I go and get one of the Hebrew women to nurse the baby for you?" "Yes, go," she answered. And the girl went and got the baby's mother. Pharaoh's daughter said to her, "Take this baby and nurse him for me, and I will pay you." So the woman took the baby and nursed him. When the child grew older, she took him to Pharaoh's daughter and he became her son. She named him Moses, saying, "I drew him out of the water."
- Exodus 2:1-10

The round well is the location that Moses was allegedly found. The Nile has changed course over thousands of years but looking down the round well there is still water today. The wall is supposedly the wall to Pharaoh's palace. I am a bit skeptical as to the authenticity of this historic site but the Egyptian Antiquities Department believes it is legitimate.

When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. "Get up," he said, "take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him." So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: "Out of Egypt I called my son." - Matthew 2:13-15

The exact location where Jesus and his family hid. There is now a church over the location so the marble floors were added after Jesus was gone. I am also skeptical about this site but the Egyptian Antiquities Department has certified it as legitimate.

One of the 7 wonders of the world

Camels are not nearly as docile as horses.

Fun Fact of the Day: The odd colored stones at the top of the pyramid are not the original stones. The original stones were removed in the 18th century to build a mosque for the ruler of Egypt.

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