I’m writing this post lying in bed in the Petra Moon Hotel. We arrived last night and today we’ll be touring the city of Petra. If that name doesn’t ring a bell, check out its history under the name Sela in Isaiah 16, 2 Kings 14, and Jeremiah 49. Or you might consider this article or this one.

Hadrian's ArchI’m looking forward to this backward peek at the world in which we live. I expect it will evoke similar thoughts as my visit to the city of Jerash yesterday. It was known as Gerasa in biblical times.

That’s me, the little figure waving at you from the steps of Hadrian’s Arch., 131 AD.

olive pressOur guide did an excellent job of describing the site and what life was probably like in its heyday. We learned about the way olive oil was pressed and how the ‘leftovers’ were used as fire starters.

The heavy basalt grinding stone is set into a deep pit to keep the olive oil cool and avoid spoilage. A wooden post was set into the stone and extended upward where the animal used to turn the stone walked in circles.

How clever is that?

7And then there’s the way they managed their water system. The stones across the tops of the ‘decorative’ columns are lovely to look at. They also have a valuable purpose. They’re actually a sluice that carries fresh water down hill.

Yep, that’s me smiling at you.

And the line of green vegetation crossing to the right from about the level of my elbow outlines another aspect of the water system. It indicates the underground channel that carries wastewater away for disposal. There’s no way the one can contaminate the other.

More cleverness at work.

5My favorite spot of this historic location might be the theater. In this photo I’m sitting in one of the VIP seats. You can tell that because the letter Z marks the spot. Only those with status were afforded seats with tickets. That way they could arrive whenever they wanted and still find a place. They were also located near the stage for the best views.

acousticsBut the part of the theater that impressed me most was the acoustics. When I spoke in a normal voice from the center point my voice echoed throughout the arena. When I whispered into one of the circular niches around the inner wall (on the left in this photo), I was heard by a fellow tourist at a similar circle on the opposite side.

I’ve been to a wide variety of theaters and concert halls and never heard such a profoundly effective sound system … and without any electricity.

And therein lies my point.

Why do we modern people think we’re so clever?

bridgeWe have countless technical advances at our disposal and yet we somehow can’t manage to stay out of our own way. A newly constructed bridge buckles and shuts down a major traffic artery.

We have countless time-saving devices at our disposal yet we can’t seem to find the time to care for the least of these. Those who serve in their nations’ armed forces are left homeless in the streets.

God made Mankind in His own image. He bestowed us with echoes of His creativity, knowledge, and so much more. He orchestrates His will, bringing about the developments He chooses on His timetable. No one era reflects the cleverness of Man than any other. Each one displays the Father’s power and wisdom, even His loving kindness … cleverness, if you will.

And in that I take great comfort as I look forward to looking backward in the ruins of Petra / Sela.

May the LORD use the events of your day to remind you of His overarching sovereignty.

with peace in His hands,

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