Zaraphath today is a dot on the map. We found Zarapheth by the pure good hospitality of a local workman. We had been finding our way through the chaos of normal Lebanese roads south to Sidon looking for the side-road to the coast. On the foot-path, standing in the typical group, chain smoking an chatting about politics, the young man was eager to jump in our car and travel with us to show us the site. The ruins are a small collection of rocks within the backyard of a suburban house. A small spring is located here, alongside what appears to be some Byzantine ruins. Zarapheth is identified by the small harbour around 6km to the south of the suburbs of Sidon, and as seen in the attached photographs within clear sight of Sidon. The dichotomy of Lebanon was demonstrated in this location. Alongside the wonderful kindness of the local workman, the house-owner was keen to invite us in for coffee and food. Pressed for time we politely declined, and after a few photographs were taken of the harbour, we were approached by the local security and intelligence officer. The regular 20 questions followed. When, what, why, who and so forth. Then we were advised to visit one Major Dick (sorry, I had to chuckle) the head of intelligence for the Sidon area. He was an austere gentleman, but warmed when finding that we were Australians. He advised us that he had served in a UN capacity in the Darwin area during the East Timor days. He still shook his head at our endeavours and assured us of the military’s support in visiting some more remote locations. His subaltern clicking smartly finished the interchange and we were back on our way.
Zarapheth is singled out in the scriptures for two remarkable women. Both demonstrated the extraordinary faith in a time when Israel was apostate. It was here that faith was demonstrated to Elijah and later to the Lord. The request to find pots to contain what was an unending supply of oil was met by the widow’s borrowing of vessels from her neighbours. A pot from the very site is illustrated in the above photographs.