DAY 12 – WEDNESDAY, MAY 16: TEMPLE MOUNT, HERODIAN MANSION, SHORASHIM, TEMPLE MOUNT SIFTING PROJECT, ISRAEL MUSEUM
This morning we began the day early again because of our visit to the Temple Mount. So with breakfast again at 6, we left the hotel shortly after 6:45. Today would be once again sunny but warmer, with highs in the 80s.
We arrived in the Old City and walked through the Dung Gate shortly after 7 a.m. Here we entered through the security area that leads up to the Temple Mount. All was quite quiet on the Temple Mount as we heard about the history of this very sensitive area today. It was here both the 1st and 2nd Temples once stood. We saw the El Asca Mosque (built in 710 AD), the Dome of the Rock (built in 691 AD), and the inside of the Eastern Gate (Ezekiel 44). We also remembered the story of John 7 involving Jesus and the Water Libation Festival.
Jewish Quarter “Herodian Mansion”
Leaving the Temple Mount we walked to the Jewish Quarter. Here we entered a fascinating “underground” excavation called the Herodian House. We saw massive house structures, mosaics, ritual baths, and frescos that al date to the 1st century! This was a Jewish house that was destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD.
“Moshe” at Shorashim / Redeemer Lutheran Tower / Shopping / Lunch
Next, each group had the opportunity to enter into the Shorashim shop and listen to Moshe (an Orthodox Jew) who shared about his Jewish faith and practice. Others climbed the 180 steps of the spiral staircase leading to the top of the Redeember Lutheran Church tower. Others enjoyed a time of shopping and wondering around. We all ate lunch here in the area.
Temple Mount Sifting Project
Walking out the Zion’s Gate, we boarded our bus and drove to the Temple Mount Sifting Project. After listening to a brief lecture about the endeavor, we enjoyed “wet-sifting” through the debris brought from the Wilson’s Arch area of the Temple. Among the many pieces of pottery, bones, and mosaic stones we found, two in the group found a coin! It probably dates to the 1st-2nd century AD!
Our last stop of the day was the Israel Museum. Here we saw three things – a 1:50 scale model of Jerusalem looked like in 70 AD, the Shrine of the Book museum, and because to limited time, the highlights of archaeological wing of the museum. Each of these continued to help us connect the dots with the archaeological world and the Bible.
We drove back to our hotel for dinner and an optional walk to the southern Promenade of Jerusalem. Can’t believe we just have one more full day here in Jerusalem!
DAY 13 – THURSDAY, MAY 17: CITY OF DAVID, SOUTHERN WALL EXCAVATIONS, A FEW FREE HOURS, GARDEN TOMB
(Theme of the Day: Seeking God to restore the “ruins” of our life)by