DAY 9 – TUESDAY, JANUARY 31:
Today was our last day of the tour. The weather was partly sunny in the morning but overcast with rain by the afternoon. Leaving at 8 a.m., we drove to the north side of the Old City to the Garden Tomb. This location serves as the alternative place for the crucifixion and burial site of Jesus. After touring the beautiful grounds here, we enjoyed a time of worship and communion together. We read from John 19 and 20. We all enjoyed Pastor Don’s song he wrote!
From here we boarded the bus and drove to the City of David. This was where Old Testament Jerusalem as located. The city was captured by David from the Jebusites (2 Samuel 5). We saw some of the excavations here, including David’s palace. Walking through Warren’s Shaft (originally thought to be the “water shaft” through which David infiltrated the city), we arrived at the huge water stone tower and the Gihon Spring, the source of water for this city since its beginning. Here we walked through Hezekiah’s Tunnel. This is a 1,720 foot tunnel cut out of bedrock. It’s mentioned in 2 Kings 19-20 and 2 Chronicles 32 (also Isaiah 8:6 and 36-37). Some in the group walked the “dry” Canaanite tunnel. It was an amazing experience! With both groups converging at the Pool of Siloam, we read John 9 in “dramatic fashion” at the steps of this ancient pool. Jesus sent the man-born-blind here to wash his eyes.
Our last archaeological area to visit was the south wall excavations of the 2nd Temple. To get there, some in the group walked up through the Herodian drainage channel that lead up to the SW corner of the Temple. Others bussed there. The SW corner of the Temple was most likely where Jesus was tempted. It was also the “place of trumpeting” according to the inscription found here. We also could see huge stones of the Temple that were toppled by the Romans in 70 AD. Walking over to the southern steps of the Temple, this was where Jesus, the disciples, and the apostles entered the Temple. We remembered the passages that recorded the many who used these steps (Luke 2, 19, and 21; Mark 12, 13; John 10; Acts 2,3, and 5).
Walking to the Jewish Quarter for a late lunch on our own, we enjoyed some free time in the mid-afternoon. We then met the bus outside Zion’s Gate again, and returned to the hotel to freshen up.
Following our farewell dinner at a nearby restaurant (Olives & Fish), we bussed to the airport for our night flight home.
** Note: At present, we are at the airport now awaiting our flight. We land early Wednesday morning back in the States. This will be the last post until we get home.
DAY 10 – WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 1: U.S.A.
We arrive back in the U.S.A.