Lessons from the Promised Land
During my travels in Israel, we had to visit Nazareth. After all it was the childhood home of Jesus.
We stopped at a place that was marked in antiquity as Mary’s house. Another house had been excavated just a stone’s throw away from Mary’s abode that shed light on the story of the Nativity.
I grew up thinking the people of Bethlehem had to be a bunch of heartless people. How could they turn away a young girl about to give birth and send her out to the barn?
Yes, perhaps there was something fishy about her pregnancy. But even so, how many people do you know, would send a young girl to the barn to give birth?
As we peered down into this house in Nazareth, our guide explained to us, that the word inn is a mistranslation. In those days, people built their houses over the openings of caves, making the cave a back room.
And because their animals were their most precious possessions, they would put the animals in this cave-room to protect them from thievery at night.
In those days, people travelling would stay with relatives if they could. So, Joseph and Mary most likely went to a relative’s house in Bethlehem along with others who had to return to Bethlehem for the census as well.
Because of this, there was no more room in the front of the house and the back cave provided more privacy. Hence, Mary and Joseph stayed there. Many scholars believe that Jesus was born in the heat of August. If that is true, it would have been much cooler in the cave-room as well. Just thought that was an interesting fact.
A Diamond in the Rough,