The Seventh Day – Good Samaritan Museum (Samaria)

Our first stop of the day was just a little bit along Route 1 towards Jericho.

Map - Samaritan

It’s the site of a church the Crusaders built, on what may or may not have been a guesthouse some centuries prior. Now, the Good Samaritan is a parable, so it’s up to you to decide whether you think it really happened or not (probably not, or at least not exactly). But the Crusaders were zealous but a little bit ignorant. That’s why “David’s Tower” in Jerusalem is nowhere near where David’s palace was, because the Crusaders arrived, saw the biggest tower by the wall, and decided that must be David’s palace. It’s actually a minaret.

Anyway, we went into a cave to watch a silent movie of the parable made about a century ago.

01 - Cave Movie

The museum is primarily of artefacts (mostly mosaics) from synagogues and churches in hard-to-protect places, such as Jericho or the Gaza strip.

[insert mosaics here]

07 - Rollers

rollers for pressing the mosaics flat

 

There was also a baptismal font from Gerazim.

03 - Baptismal Font from Gerizim

And a display about modern Samaritans.

04 - Modern Samaritans

There are a couple of villages of them, mostly in the hills of Samaria, but less than a thousand all up. They speak Aramaic and either Hebrew or Arabic (depending on where they live), but usually both, and they use their own writing system, the Samaritan alphabet, which is derived from an older form of the Hebrew alphabet. They have only the Pentateuch as scripture, and they consider Mount Gerazim, not Mount Moriah, the mountain that God chose.

Inside the building, I could hear the Pathetique Sonata. I finally worked out where it was coming from – a television showing how mosaics are preserved. They roll some sort of sticky backing out on top so they can transport them like carpets, and then mount them at the final destination.

05 - Television

Outside were the remains of the Crusader church, rebuilt slightly and used sometimes for services.

06 - Church Remains

The internet here is not the greatest, so anything further might have to wait until I get to the airport or even home, since I do need time to eat and pack.

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