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June 4, 2009June 4, 2009  1 comments  Biblical Archaeology


One of the most well known ancient parables returned to life today about 10 minute east of Jerusalem. the Inn of the good Smaritan adn the new Museuam of the good samaritan opened to the public on the anicent site where, it is said, the famous parable from Luke took place.


The site is one of the very few biblical sites that is open to all inhabitants of Israel and the Palestinian Territories. The new museum is the only mosaic museum in Israel, displaying mosaics and other finds discovered in Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip. It houses some of the most fabulous discoveries in the region inlcuding a mosaic floor form a church crypt at Khubet Bureiket. Other significant discoveries on display include a mosaic floor from the Hugurbet Huriye and Khirbet el Latatin. Also an ancient mosaic floor from a synagague in Gaza is on display. One of the most unique displays in the not to be missed back room is an ancient Greek inscription that was discovered in the Martyrius Monastary from the Byzantine period, discovered in Maale Adummim. The mosaic inside this monastary feature the only inscription that mentions Paul, who was , according to Cyril of Scythopolis, the presbytr at the Monastary. Another unique discovery from Khirbet Beit Sila is the Ambo from the Church there. Located on a spur in the middle of Nahal Modi'in northwest of Jerusalem it was occupied in the 2nd Centtury until the 8th Century. The ambo (pulpit) and the religuaries (receptacles) for vestiges of Saints were from the Church discovered there. Ancient wine press and oil presses were also discovered in the same spot.


Central to the motifs in the church mosaics is the parable of the Good Samaritan. from Luke 10:25 - 37 , which reads as follows: 


Behold, a certain lawyer stood up and tested  him saying, "Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?" He said to him, "what is written in the law? How do you read it?" He answered, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself." He said to him, "You have answered correctly. Do this, and you will livve." But he, desiring to justify himself asked Jesus, "who is my neighborh?" Jesus answered, "A certain man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho and he feel among throbbers, who both stripped him and beat him, and departed, leaving him half dead. By chance a certain priest was going down that way. When he saw him, he passed aby on the other side.  In the same way a Levite also, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on theother side.  but a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was.  when he saw him, he was moved with compassion, came to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and winne.  He set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn, and took care of him.  On the next day, when he departed, he took out two denarrii and gave them to the host, and said to him, "take care of him.  Whatever you spend beyond that, I will repay you when I return."  Now which of thee three do you think seemed to be a neighbor to him who fell among the robbers?" He said, "He who showed mercy on him." then Jesus said to him, "go and do likewise." (Luke 10:25-37)


The site, located on the main road between Jerusalem and Jericho, is identified with the biblical Ma'ale Adumim, which was located at the junction between the lands of the tribes of Benjamin and of Judah (Josh. 15:7; 18:17). In the Byzantine period it was identified with the inn mentioned in the Parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37). This parable includes men of three different faiths: Jesus, the founder of Christianity, Jews, and a Samaritan who performs a merciful deed. Accordingly, the museum exhibits mosaics and artifacts from both Jewish and Samaritan synagogues, as well as from churches.



The museum is situated adjacent to the remains of the Inn of the Good Samaritan which includes Second Temple-period remains such as dwelling caves, cisterns from different periods, and the reconstructed Good Samaritan Byzantine church. These remains serve to underline the importance of the site for Christians through the ages.


"The importance of this site, which is open to both Israelis and Palestinians cannot be overstated. Said Speaker Rueven Rivlin, who attended the ceremony, "I believe everyone should be able to visit (this site). " The site's symbolism was not lost on the Knesset speaker who added, " You can't just leave people. Is opening this politics? It is not."


In fact the site was identified almost 40 years ago said Rivlin and approximately 10 years ago the Tourism Ministry began planning for its redevelopment. One noted archaeological scholar, Itzik Magen, spent the last 9 years researching and overseeing every aspect of the redevelopment and presented the historical photographs to onlookers including the Latin Patriarche and many other leaders from the local Christian community who attended the opening. 



The site was developed and restored by the Civil Administration's Staff Officer of Archeology and Antiquities and the Israel Antiquities Authority, financed by the Tourism Ministry with a total investment of 10 million shekel.

The site is conveniently situated on the ancient travel route used routeby pilgrims going from Jerusalem to Jericho and north to the Galilee. Nearby sites of interest include the baptism site of Qasr el Yahud on the Jordan river which is in the final stages of a major renovation program, and the archeological site of Qumran.

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