DAY 8 – FRIDAY, OCTOBER 19: CITY OF DAVID, HEZEKIAH’S TUNNEL, SOUTHERN WALL EXCAVATIONS, A FEW FREE HOURS, GARDEN TOMB
Today was yet another sunny day here in Jerusalem, with perfect high temps in the 70s once again. We started with an Old Testament focus, we ended with a New Testament celebration of Christ’s resurrection!
City of David / Hezekiah’s Tunnel / Pool of Siloam
Leaving the hotel shortly after 7:30 again, our drive took us down the Hinnom Valley before we climbed the Tyropean Valley to the City of David. Our focus was upon Old Testament Jerusalem. After watching a movie, we walked down through the excavations. This included Area G and Warren’s Shaft. Upon reaching the Gihon Spring (where Solomon was made king, see I Kings 1), many in the group walked through Hezekiah’s Tunnel, a 1,720 foot water tunnel cut out of bedrock prior to the siege of Jerusalem by Sennecherib, the Assyrian King (2 Kings 20, 2 Chr. 32). Dressed in shorts and water shoes, and with a flashlight in hand, most in the group walked through water to the end. Others took the “dry” yet fascinating Canaanite tunnel. Both group converged at the Pool of Siloam where we read about the blind man headed by Jesus from John 9 in dramatic fashion.
From here, over half in the group walked north through the newly-discovered drainage channel. This channel was built below the Herodian stone street that provided a link between the Pool of Siloam and the Temple Mount (see John 7 and the Water Libation Festival during Succot or Tabernacles). At the SW corner of the Temple, we saw the stone pavement up where Jesus must have walked and the huge boulders toppled by the Romans in 70 AD. At the southern steps, we considered many of the stories from the Gospels and Acts that record the people who would have used these exact same steps to enter the Temple from the south.
“Today’s encounters in Jerusalem were awesome. I especially liked walking through Hezekiah’s tunnel. What a wild experience! To be able to walk through an ancient water system that is even mentioned in the Bible is amazing to me. That water wasn’t that cold either.”
Western Wall / Jewish Quarter / Free Time
From here some walked to the Western Wall while others ascended the steps to the Jewish Quarter. Here we enjoyed a few hours of free time (lunch, shopping). Some climbed the 190 rounded steps up the tower of the Redeemer Lutheran Church for an amazing view of the Old City below. It was fun to explore on our own.
We ended the day by visiting the Garden Tomb. We walked here through the Old City and out of the Damascus Gate. While this location for Christ’s crucifixion and burial is not probable, it is still a wonderful place to consider the victory and hope we have in our Risen Lord! We enjoyed a time of worship and Communion here as well!
We returned to our hotel for dinner and another optional walk, this time to the Promenade.