Mikveh at Magdala

October 24, 2013

We’re glad to be back up and running now (our blog, that is).

Yesterday we arrived at ATL on time on our return from Israel. This trip was biblically educational for all: helpful for first-time travelers as well as those returning. It is a fact that you get a lot more out of that 2nd or 3rd trip to Israel; that first visit tends to be overwhelming, there’s so much to take in! I continue to learn on each trip.

Last week I posted on the discovery of the 1st century synagogue at Magdala. Of interest there was the discovery of two mikva’ot (plural of mikveh). A mikveh was used by the Jews for ritual purification (not for bathing; they would bathe first).

A mikveh at Magdala. Two mikva'ot were found at the site. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

A mikveh at Magdala. Two mikva’ot were found at the site. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

Archaeologist Ronny Reich, in BAR in an article discussing mikva’ot at Sepphoris says:

. . .we often find mikva’ot in pairs, side by side. We must remember that where the mikveh was not served by a continuously flowing spring (as in the vast majority of cases), the pure water had to last from the end of one rainy season, in around March, until the beginning of the next rainy season, about October. If one of a pair of mikva’ot no longer had enough pure water, the other could be used. What’s more, the waters of a pure mikveh could be used to purify the water in the other. Rabbinic literature describes how a moveable pipe or assemblage of pipes could be used for this purpose (Tosefta mikva’ot, 5.5). Pairs of mikva’ot are frequently found in Jerusalem. At Sepphoris I saw five or six pairs or groups that can easily be identified: numbers 4, 5 and 6; 7 and 9; 14 and 15; 17 and 18; 19 and 20; 21 and 22 on the site map (28:02 Mar/Apr 2002).

The view from Magdala is beautiful.

View from Magdala, looking NW. Photo by Leon Mauldin

View from Magdala, looking NW. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

Click on images for larger view.


Synagogue at Magdala

October 17, 2013

There are numerous ongoing excavations in Israel. We were excited to begin our day today with a stop at Magdala. A volunteer told our group about some of the discoveries there.

Volunteer at Magdala informing our group about discoveries there.

Volunteer at Magdala. Photo by Leon Mauldin

I had been to Magdala twice before, but today was the first time I was able to walk around the site and take photos. There were several matters of interest there, but I especially wanted to see the synagogue, as the remains date back to the first century!

1st century Synagogue at Magdala. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

1st century Synagogue at Magdala. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

Magdala was the home town of Mary Magdalene. The designation means “Mary of Magdala.” This was a fishing village in the time of Jesus. Fish were salted here and exported to Rome.

We had a good day, packed full with good photo opportunities. Everyone is well so far and for that we are thankful.

Click on images for larger view.

%d bloggers like this: