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)
Today was our last full day here in Israel. The skies were once again bright and sunny, with warmer temps in the mid 80s.
Leaving at 7:30 following another full breakfast, we arrived at the southern excavations of the Temple. It was amazing to see the magnificence of this temple, especially in light of one massive stone placed upon another. No wonder the disciples were equally amazed (Mark 13, Luke 21)! At the SW corner we walked on a Herodian street no doubt used by Jesus too! We also saw the massive stones toppled by the Romans in 70 AD. On the southern end, we walked up the temple steps. We reflected upon who all used these steps during the time of Jesus and the apostles. Above us was the royal stoa. On the east side was Solomon’s Porch (John 10, Acts, 3, 5). We also remembered Acts 2. Perhaps Peter gave his stirring testimony here (Acts 2).
City of David – Warren’s Shaft – Hezekiah’s Tunnel, Pool of Siloam
Walking south we entered the visitor center leading to the City of David excavations. From the observation deck, we could see in all directions, connecting again this location to the Bible. After seeing a 3-D movie, we walked down through the “Area G” excavations (where Pastor John dug in 1982) and Warren’s Shaft (previously thought as the 52 foot “water shaft” used by David’s men to conquered the city (2 Samuel 5).
This led us down to the Gihon Spring (where Solomon was made king, 1 Kings 1:33). Here many walked through Hezekiah’s Tunnel (2 Kings 20, 2 Chr. 32, a water tunnel that was 1,720 feet long) while others walked through the “dry” Canaanite tunnel. Both groups converged at the steps of the Pool of Siloam where we read John 9 in “dramatic” fashion!
From here some walked back up to the SW corner of the Temple through the drainage channel (underneath the herodian street), while others bussed back up to the Jewish Quarter. We enjoyed some lunch and free time on our own.
In the mid-afternoon we walked northward through the Old City. Exiting through the Damascus Gate, we visited the Garden Tomb. Here we toured the place suggested to be an alternative site for the crucifixion and burial site of Jesus. We enjoyed a time of worship and Communion as well. It was very special to end our tour with this experience!
Returning to our hotel, we enjoyed a farewell dinner together. We are all thankful to God for the rich experience we encountered together!
DAY 14 – FRIDAY, MAY 18: ARRIVE BACK IN THE U.S.A.
The majority of the group flies back today. Some fly out at about 9 am, while others fly out shortly after noon. Praise be to God for a life-changing experience!