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Jericho is a historically renowned city because the Israelites conquered Canaan by first capturing Jericho under the leadership of Joshua and with the miraculous intervention of God (Josh 6). Joshua had allotted that area to the tribe of Benjamin (Josh 18:21). It was around twelve kms west of Jordan and twenty-seven km east of Jerusalem. Jericho being a cursed city (Josh 6:26; 1 Kgs 16:34), what with its spring water being foul and its land sterile, at the request of its inhabitants, Elisha threw salt into the spring there, and God purified the water in the springs (2 Kgs 2:19-22). As a result, the city turned fertile and went on to become famous for palm forests, balsam groves, rose gardens (Sir 24:14), and dates. In fact, Jericho was known as the “City of Palms” (Deut 34:3; Judg 1:16), and later as the “City of Perfumes”. Being the richest city in Palestine, Jericho remained a great taxation centre. So, Zacchaeus, an overseer of tax-collectors here, became immensely wealthy.

The Jews from Galilee, while going to Jerusalem, avoided journeying straight through Samaria because of their enmity with the Samaritans. So, they travelled east, crossing the River Jordan and heading south. Again, they crossed back the River Jordan and passed through Jericho on the west to reach Jerusalem. Though Jesus also had travelled through Samaria, most often he took the Jericho route. While passing through the city on his way to Jerusalem for the Passover, Jesus healed the blind beggar and then met Zacchaeus.

The gospels record the following events associated with Jesus and Jericho.

1. Like Joshua led the Israelites to the promised land through Jericho crossing the Jordan River, Jesus also led his companions crossing River Jordan to Jericho and went to Jerusalem for his sacrifice there.

2. Jesus healed a blind beggar, Bartimaeus (and his companion according to Matthew) in Jericho (Mt 20:29-34; Mk 10:46-52; Lk 18:35-43).

3. Jesus called Zacchaeus, a rich tax collector from a sycamore tree and dined at his house in Jericho with his friends leading to the conversion of Zacchaeus (Lk 19:1-10).

4. Jesus told the parable of the ten gold coins while he was in Jericho (Lk 19:11-27).


Jericho was the gateway to the promised land of Canaan in the Old Testament and was also the city of entrance for Jesus to reach Jerusalem for his sacrifice. People had to cross River Jordan to pass through Jericho. We enter to the heavenly Jerusalem by cleansing our souls in baptism and traveling with Jesus in his church. He will heal our spiritual blindness as he did for Bartimaeus and convert us as he did for Zacchaeus.


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