Hikers find mysterious side-by-side carvings in ancient cistern
It's a Christmas/Hanukkah miracle!
A group of hikers exploring an ancient cistern in southern Israel over the weekend found drawings of both a menorah and a cross etched side-by-side into a limestone wall, according to the Times of Israel.
The discovery was not only made during Hanukkah, but during one of the rare years that the festival overlapped with Christmas week.
Though both the symbols in the cistern were created long ago, they were likely carved into the limestone on two distinct occasions separated by hundreds of years, reported Fox News.
At this time, experts have yet to determine the ages of the markings.
However, Sa'ar Ganor, an archaeologist with the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA), has a theory as to when they were made.
"The menorah was probably etched in the cistern after the water installation was hewn in the bedrock, maybe by inhabitants of the Jewish settlement that was situated there during the Second Temple period..." he said in a statement. "The cross was etched later on, during the Byzantine period."
As to why the drawings were there in the first place?
"It could be that there were families that converted to Judaism from Christianity," he explained. "Or there may have been families that were both Christian and Jewish."
A beautiful sentiment of unity in these rather divided times.
Unfortunately, if you were hoping to see the united religious symbols in person, we've got some bad news for you.
According to the Times of Israel, the IAA is refusing to disclose the name of the site, or any specifics concerning its location, in order to prevent people from flocking to the new discovery and potentially damaging it.