It’s easy to miss today, as it would have been 2,000 years ago. Just another set of doors on an anonymous street filled with vendors in the heart of the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem’s Old City.
This archeological site, some 19 feet below the current street level, contains the burnt remains of a home that was destroyed when Romans set fire to the city in 70 A.D. following the destruction of the Temple during the Great Revolt.
Human fragments were found during the excavations, a reminder that great events in history had consequences for the real people living through them. For this family – possibly the priestly Kathros family – the loss and sorrow afterwards would have been deeply personal.
We don’t know for sure who lived and died there, but the uncovered remains of this burnt house put in perspective the reality of those turbulent times. While the Zealots were waging a losing war against the Romans, as the Temple was destroyed, the people living in Jerusalem saw their own lives crumbling.
This isn’t a field of battle, like the Valley of Elah where David killed Goliath, or a military fortress like Masada. This was a home, where children had played, meals had been served, and life had unfolded. Did the Zealot militia or Roman soldier.
In our rush to see the “Great Things” done by “Great Men” in history, we have a tendency to rush past the real-life consequences for actual people. The “burnt house” in Jerusalem is a reminder that big-time politics impact real people in deep and personal ways.
It is too easy to let our politics, positions, philosophies, ideals, and candidates become idols we relentlessly serve. We must remember that they are only tools in our daily work of honoring God and loving our fellow man.