Thursday, June 01, 2006

Sycamore Tree of Jericho


Jericho may be the City of Palm Trees. But it is not a palm tree that we went to visit before leaving for Tel Aviv – but a sycamore tree.

The Bible tells the story of how Zaccheus, being short and could not see through the crowd, climbed up the sycamore tree just to see Jesus as He passed through Jericho before going to Jerusalem. Jericho saw Zaccheus' effort and decided to accept the invitation to dine with the tax collector in his house. Zaccheus was a sinner and cheated people of their money. His encounter with Jesus made him repent and give up his riches to the poor.

Upon arriving at the place, everyone rushed to get off the bus to have the first check of the fabled tree. There was a marker with the biblical claims. So does this make the sycamore tree the distinction of being the sole living witness to Jesus during His life on earth?

I would have asked the caretaker of the tree about the validity of the claims but he was busy trying to sell sycamore tree postcards to us for 5 shekels (but made some sale only when he lowered the price to 2).

The sun was hot and beating up real hard, I decided not to insist on a quick stop to Jerusalem, which would otherwise have made my day. Nonetheless, with Jericho and its sites, and the surprisingly hospitable and good-natured locals – it was a very enriching day for everyone.

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