You’ll sometimes find what you’re looking for, but lately there’s been a string of news stories confirming the accuracy and veracity of the Bible.
Over the weekend, it was reported that steps from the pool of Siloam were uncovered in Jerusalem, the ancient site where Jesus healed the blind man (John 9:1-11). The pool’s exact location was a mystery until 2004 when archeologists first made the discovery of the site. Digging has been a slow process, but the revelation of the actual steps – which have been covered for thousands of years – marks a turning point in the project.
“Theologically, it affirms Scripture,” said the Reverend Johnnie Moore, president of the Congress of Christian Leaders. “It affirms scripture; and politically, it affirms Israel’s unquestionable and unrivaled link to Jerusalem. Some discoveries are theoretical. This one is undeniable. It is proof of the story of the Bible and its people, Israel.”
“Go wash in the pool of Siloam” – which means Sent – Jesus is quoted as telling the blind man in John’s Gospel. “So he went and washed and came back seeing” (John 9:7).
Smithsonian Magazine also reported over the weekend that archeologists have unearthed four Roman swords in an Israeli cave near the Dead Sea. Each between 24 and 26 inches long, it’s believed they were used in a Jewish uprising against the Romans in the second century.
But there’s a fascinating backstory to the discovery itself. Smithsonian reports:
The story of this incredible discovery actually began 50 years ago, when researchers noted a fragmentary [Old Testament] inscription written on one of the cave’s stalactites. The current team was revisiting the cave, which is only accessible by rappelling down a steep cliff face, to photograph the inscription with multispectral photography in hopes of getting a clearer reading.
While carrying out this project, Asaf Gayer of Ariel University spotted the Roman pilum nestled inside a narrow crevice of the cave’s upper level. Looking around, he also came across pieces of worked wood in another nearby crevice, which would prove to be fragments from one of the Roman sword’s scabbards. Upon making the discovery, the team immediately reported their findings to the IAA’s Judean Desert Survey Project, which returned to the cave to carry out a full excavation.
Earlier this summer, Steven Collins, Dean of the College of Archeology at Trinity Southwest University, discussed how pottery that he and his team dug up at a site in modern-day Jordan, added credence to the theory the area was the biblical city of Sodom.
Collins told popular author Joel Rosenberg the material had been impacted by “flash heat” – which would match up to the biblical account of God raining “down burning sulfur on Sodom and Gomorrah” (Gen. 19:24).
Dr. John Bergsma, Professor of Theology at Ohio’s Franciscan University, said the heated pottery wasn’t the only evidence.
“Human skeletons that are complete up until about halfway up the backbone and then there’s just a scorch mark and there’s nothing on the top of the body,” he said. “They find massive evidence that a huge heat blast from the sky…incinerated these twin cities on the Jordanian side of the river.”
Christians don’t rely on physical proof or archeological evidence to firm up their faith. After all, it was Jesus who said, “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed” (John 20:29). But it’s always affirming and encouraging when the material nevertheless matches up with our deeply held religious convictions.
These discoveries are also a good reminder for us to be patient and never panic when scientists suggest that evidence is either lacking or inconsistent with our faith. Hold on. Just wait. Science will always eventually catch up with the Bible.
Photo credit: Shutterstock and Nathan Steinmeyer, Biblical Archaeology Society