On August 24, AD 79 – the residents of the ancient city of Pompeii literally did not know what hit them. The word “volcano” was not even in their vocabulary at the time. According to historical evidence and recorded testimonies, something deadlier than lava projected from the core of the mountain including superheated gas, magma, and ash that formed a giant towering column that built up into the sky. The magma eventually cooled and then fell to the earth as pumice stones. Unfortunately, mixed in with the pumice stones were lithic – cold, dense rocks torn from inside the volcano and carried up into the atmosphere only to fall back to earth as deadly missiles travelling at speeds reaching 110 mph. Within 18 hours, the entire city and its inhabitants were buried under the debris that had spewed from Mount Vesuvius. The mountain hadn’t erupted for over 1,800 years – no one could possibly have foretold the disaster that happened on that fateful day. Ash fall from Vesuvius was later traced as far away as Africa.
Pompeii was first uncovered in 1594, although archaeological excavations only began in 1748 and have slowly continued since then. A massive area has now been excavated; however, even today, more than a quarter of Pompeii still awaits excavation.
Those investigating this disaster had to piece together the evidence of who these people were, how they spent their final hours and why they had chosen to stay in Pompeii rather than flee when the eruption began. Eventually, clues started to come from the victims themselves. Many of the victims discovered in Pompeii were old, young, sick and, in some cases, pregnant. So the team concluded that escape for the most vulnerable had simply been too dangerous. Other victims have been found clutching bags of gold and other precious objects, so some people had probably tried to return to the city to retrieve their valuables. (www.bbc.co.uk/pressoffice/pressrelease/stories/…/09/…/pompeii.pdf)
That last sentence strikes at the core of my heart:
Other victims have been found clutching bags of gold
and other precious objects . . .
The following questions are somewhat troubling: What would I be clutching? What would you be clutching? Am I trying to scare you with the story of Pompeii? Truth be told – yes, a little bit. After reflecting on the story, we are challenged with one more question: Who or what will be at the center of my life?
Want more??? This is from the first chapter of my brand new devotional book, Five Toughest Decisions Teens Make. Available from this website, Amazon, or other fine online outlets on March 2nd 🙂