DAY 10– MONDAY, MARCH 23
Today was the last day in Jerusalem. It was a sunny and warmer day, with temps in the 60s. We left our hotel and drove to the City of David excavations. We saw a 15 minute video about the history of Jerusalem during the OT period. Following an overview of the area, we descended through the excavations as well as through “Warren’s Shaft.” The old theory suggested that Joab, David’s general, climbed up through this shaft in order to conquer the Jebusites (2 Sam 5). This theory is no longer held.
This brought us to the “water tower” surrounding the Gihon Spring, the primary water source of Jerusalem. Some in the group walked through Hezekiah’s Tunnel (2 Kings 20 & 2 Chr. 32), a wet tunnel with water above the knee. Others walked through the Canaanite tunnel, a dry tunnel today. Both groups met at the Pool of Siloam. We read portions of John 9 about the blind man healed by Jesus.
From here, the group again split up into two, with one group walking up the Herodian “drainage channel” while others bussed to the south-wall excavations. We met together at the SW corner of the Temple under what is called “Robinson’s Arch.” This arch served to support a 90 degree-angle bridge for priests entering the Temple in Jesus’ day. Here we also saw the huge stones of the Temple that were toppled by the Romans in 70 AD. From here we walked a little east to the southern steps of the Temple. While sitting on the steps, we reflected upon the stories mentioned in the Gospels and the Book of Acts relating to the Temple (Luke 2 & 18; Mark 12 & 13, and Acts 2).
We ended the touring part of the day at the Garden Tomb. After visiting the site and the suggested crucifixion and burial place of Jesus, we enjoyed a time of worship and Communion together.
We drove back to the hotel. 18 of us departed at 3 p.m. for the Allenby Bridge border crossing into Jordan. After crossing, we drove about 3.5 hours to Petra. We had a late dinner before retiring for the evening. We are looking forward to spending a full day here in Petra.
The other 32 in the group enjoyed a relaxing afternoon before loading up the bus and leaving for the airport. On the way, dinner was enjoyed at Abu Gosh. The night flight (11:45 p.m.) is a direct flight back into JFK, NY.
DAY 11– TUESDAY, MARCH 24
For those who fly home last night, we arrive back in the States.
For those who continued to Jordan, we will spend the entire day in Petra.