Sunday, December 12, 2010

The Power of a Storm

A powerful storm lashed Israel over the weekend. While the rain was much needed, the strong winds accompanying the rain have been devastating. Along the coast, the wind-driven waves caused severe damage...and at least one death.

A report in today's Jerusalem Post describes the storm's impact on the excavations at Caesarea. "A modern-day seawall outside the Caesarea archaeological site collapsed in the surging storms early Sunday, leaving the walls of the ancient port exposed to the crashing waves. Authorities from the parks authority said Sunday if a solution is not found, the waves could cause irreparable damage to one of Israel's most-cherished archaeological sites."

I took the picture of Caesarea above. It shows how vulnerable the site would be to such a storm. In the foreground are the ruins of the palace of Herod the Great which extend out into the Mediterranean. The open space just beyond the palace contain the excavations of the city's original hippodrome.
A low sea wall was the only barrier protecting those ruins. And the buildings in the distance mark the location of the city's ancient harbor.

This weekend's storm washed away part of the protective outer wall, exposing the more fragile ruins to the pounding waves. One can only hope that the ruins haven't been destroyed, and that a new seawall can be built before another storm lashes the coast.

As I read about the storm that hit Israel, I also thought about how the Bible used the power of storms to illustrate the majesty of God. My favorite example comes from the Book of Isaiah. "For I am the LORD your God, who churns up the sea so that its waves roar—the LORD Almighty is his name" (Isa. 51:15). A storm is powerful, but it's no match for the God who controls the wind and the waves!

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