Where Few Are Allowed To Explore: Excavations Of Beit Lehi, Israel
S. Michael Wilcox - FUN FOR LESS - January 11, 2012
Beit Lehi, an archeological dig in Israel, has changed little from New Testament times. And since I was with Fun For Less Tours - the only company allowed on the site - I knew my trip there was a rare and special opportunity.
There are some places in the world everyone should see and almost any tour will take you there, but there are times when our most memorable moments come from leaving the ordinary and well known and going where few go. Such was my excitement the first time I visited Beit Lehi …….. I really did not know what to expect. The name alone was fascinating and for a number of reasons. I used to thrill in my early teenage years with the stories of Samson. He fired my imagination with visions of lion attacks, firebrands tied to the tails of foxes, riddles, and of course, his tragic end with Delilah. Then there was the story of fighting a thousand Philistines with the jawbone of an ass. Samson named the place this heroic struggle took place “Lehi.” Now I was going to visit it. The spring Samson drank from is still there. And I could not help but wonder as we turned south from Jerusalem what connections this site had with Lehi of Book of Mormon fame. Could his name have come from this local? Was I going to walk the hills Nephi walked? This mystery would find no answers, but the spell of the place was irresistible and pulled us magnetically down the road. It was even more intriguing since Fun For Less Tours is the only company allowed on the site and in the many times I had been to Israel I had never walked this path.
Beit Lehi is an archeological dig. As we drove I remember reading stories of wonderful finds pulled from the dust of old tombs and cities. My mind filled with the gleam of a gold or a silver coin, the emerging shape of pots once turned on the potter’s wheel, treasured by wives and daughters, and the shops and the workplaces of families long gone and forgotten. A flashlight is a necessity though sometimes generators allow us to see the dig in the glow of bare light bulbs hanging from the ceiling. It is an exploration to be envied for those with a little spirit of adventure.
© Fun For Less Tours for LDS Living, 2012.