What is interesting about these cities: Naples, Oslo, Paris, Quebec City, Rome, Stockholm, and Tokyo? No, it’s not the alphabetic sequence; that’s just me messing with you. Here’s a clue: Jerusalem is probably the only city that doesn’t fit that pattern. What other great city older than two hundred years is not built on either a river or the coast?
That so many cities were built on water is no surprise. To this day, the majority of the world’s goods and commodities still travel by ship. Cities grow and thrive where trade occurs, and rivers and oceans have always been the arteries of trade. The mystery is how Jerusalem grew and thrived. It was never on a trading route like other inland cities such as those on the old Silk Road. Because of its elevation, trading caravans would have taken flatter routes to the Mediterranean. Thus it never had the large markets or “shuks” of cities like Baghdad and Beirut.
Yet, after more than two thousand years, Jerusalem’s vitality and endurance continue undiminished. On May 28, 1948, the Jordanian army expelled every Jew from Jerusalem’s original old city and destroyed their homes. In order to ensure that Jews would never return to Jerusalem, the Jordanians destroyed every synagogue and violated the cemetery by building their army latrines over the ancient grave stones. On June 7th, 1967, the Jews recaptured Jerusalem.