During our trip to Israel, my wife and I snapped close to 2000 photos. Not all of them were of biblical or historical interest, of course. Some were touristy shots, such as my wife and I riding a camel with the Dome of the Rock in the background. Some were shots of purely photographic interest, such as close-ups of the many flowers that were in bloom. And some were shots of curiosities we thought our kids back home would enjoy. The most surprising of these were the odd places our children’s names happened to turn up.
Our first son David’s name could, of course, be seen everywhere—especially in Jerusalem.
We never saw an example of Caleb or Bethany’s names. (Isn’t it always the middle children who get neglected?) We might easily have seen them had we visited the town of Bethany or perhaps a dog park (kaleb is the Hebrew word for “dog”), but alas, we never did.
Alexa and Josiah’s names turned up in the most unexpected places. Alexa is a Greek name, so what were the chances we would find it in Israel? Yet there it was in an elaborate mosaic at Tzippori (ancient Sepphoris, near Nazareth):
It was actually part of the name Alexandria, positioned just above a representation of the Pharos, or lighthouse, of ancient Alexandia, Egypt. But the Greek letter nu is partially missing, making Alexa’s name stand out clearly.
Josiah, affectionately known as “Jo Jo,” turned up in the spiral staircase leading to the top of the bell tower of Jerusalem’s Church of the Redeemer. Among all the graffiti defacing the walls, someone had inscribed Jo Jo in several prominent places. Here’s just one example:
Even thousands of miles from home, you never know where your kids will turn up. If you get the chance to visit the land of Israel, be on the lookout for the unexpected.