Glimpses of Israel - The Road To Jericho

by Joseph Hunting

I have always been fascinated by the military genius of Joshua. The victory at Jericho was a miracle. Joshua was obedient to the Divine directions and God did the rest. But it was not until I made the journey from Jericho to Bethel that I realized the distance and the difficult terrain covered by Joshua's army when they attacked Ai. Indeed, the first attempt proved disastrous because of the secret sin committed by Achan.

My admiration for the mobility of Joshua's army rose to new heights when I realized that they covered the distance between their base camp at Jericho and the ambush set at Ai in one night, a distance of about twenty miles up a very steep grade with deep ravines between them and their destination.

Today, the traveller to Jericho departs from Jerusalem and in only a few minutes the route passes through Bethany, the town immortalized by the sisters Martha and Mary and their brother Lazarus. New settlements on the outskirts of Jerusalem have sprung up since 1967 and it's not hard to believe that Jerusalem's growth has so outstripped Tel Aviv's that it is now Israel's largest city as well as its capital.

Then the highway dips towards the Dead Sea. About midway between Jerusalem and Jericho are the ruins of a building which, according to tradition, is the Inn of the Good Samaritan. In the days when the Samaritans occupied the West Bank the parable of the Good Samaritan was a lesson that is timeless in its application.

If Sodom is the lowest place on the earth's surface, then Jericho must be the second lowest inhabited town. This is soon evidenced by the rise in temperature as the road levels out across the Great Rift Valley to Jericho, the town that produced King David's great grandmother, Rahab. Jericho's destruction was the catalyst that commenced one of the greatest military campaigns in the annals of mankind when Joshua conquered Canaan. This resulted in the first Commonwealth of Israel.