The Destruction Begins*
They had just entered the village of Zoar when the earth began to shake causing the car to rock. They heart a roar, and the shaking intensified. Behind them in the valley a crack had opened in the earth, and steam was escaping from the vent. As they continued to watch in the rear-view mirror, molten lava fountained into the air from the breech. The wind carried the ash to the area where Lot and his family continued to flee, and it fell around them. The stench of burning sulfur was everywhere.
Lot’s Wife Looks Back
Sofia could not help remembering her beautiful home with its gorgeous tapestries, priceless paintings, and the statuary and fountains in the courtyard. It was on the edge of town. Was it going to incur damage? She had to know. “Please, stop the car! I think I just dropped something out the window.”
Sofia got out of the car, and turned toward the city. What she saw stunned and silenced her. Sodom was gone, and in its place a lava fountain erupted from a crack in the earth. As she watched, a volcanic bomb (a chunk of molten lava thrown out of the vent by a Strombolian volcanic eruption) fell on her head. The heat incinerated her, and the molten lava flowed down over her corpse and hardened into a stone pillar. Her act of disobedience had cost her life.
Lot, seeing that he could not help Sofia, directed his daughters to cover their heads inside the car, and floor-boarded the throttle as they headed toward the mountains. The thick cloud of ash required that they turn on the car headlights. Dropping volcanic bombs ignited the brush and trees along the road causing wildfires. Though it seemed like they were driving through Hell, they sensed a wall of protection around them that gave them hope that they would reach Uncle Abe’s house before nightfall.
Meanwhile up on the mountainside, Abe had hurried to his valley overlook just as the sun peaked over the horizon. What he saw astonished him. A huge column of ash ascended from the valley. A small volcanic cone was building up in what had formerly been the center of town. Molten lava shot skyward and flowed down the sides of the cone causing it to expand and increase in height. The entire valley was covered by gray volcanic ash destroying the crops and herds. The stench of sulfur penetrated his nostrils. The towns had been destroyed by lava flows. Rather than let the evil grow further and bring judgment on more of his creation, God had destroyed the evil place.
Abe’s immediate concern was for Lot and his family. Had they been spared? Throughout the day he maintained his vigil for his family. The ash cloud continued to grow, as did the cinder cone beneath it, but there was no sign of Lot or his family. As the sun began to set, Abe turned to go, but movement on the slope below him caught his eye.
Three ash-blackened figures emerged from the cloud that now filled the valley. The three figures were winding their way up the slope toward his cabin. Unable to travel by car after a volcanic bomb had flattened it, they had continued on foot. Lot and his two daughters had been spared thanks to God’s mercy and Abe’s intercession.
*This fictionalized account of Genesis 19:15-29 is based on the volcanic eruption of Paricutin in 1943. Within hours of the appearance of a crack in a Mexican cornfield, lava fountains spewed forth, and a volcanic cone was quickly built. Volcanic bombs, ash, and lapilli erupted from the event and fell from the sky. Eventually two towns, Paricutin, and San Juan Parangaricutiro, were covered by ash and lava flows and were destroyed. Reference: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ParIcutin