DAY 10 – TUESDAY, MARCH 26: GARDEN TOMB, CITY OF DAVID, HEZEKIAH’S TUNNEL, SOUTHERN WALL EXCAVATIONS, WESTERN WALL, A FEW FREE HOURS
Today was our last day here in Jerusalem. The weather was partly sunny with highs in the upper 50s. The day included a little mix of Old and New Testament sites and experiences, some worship, as well as some free time.
We began the day at 8 a.m. as we drove to the north side of the Old City to the Garden Tomb. This site (identified only in the last 19th century AD) serves as an alternative location for both the crucifixion and burial of Jesus. After seeing the suggested tomb of Jesus, we joined our hearts for worship and Communion. It was a special time together.
“The two things I liked most about today were the visits to the Garden Tomb and Hezekiah’s Tunnel. The Garden Tomb was a meaningful experience while the walk through the water of the tunnel was an absolute adventure! Too incredible to even describe!” -Tour Participant-
City of David
Driving to the south side of the Old City, we visited the City of David excavations. After a 3-D movie and gaining some general insights for the observation deck, we descended down through the excavations. We saw the area suggested to be the palace of David and walked through down a series of tunnels called Warren’s Shaft. Using this vertical “water shaft” was the original theory behind how David conquered the city of Jesus (2 Samuel 5). Yet further down the slope of the city we saw the massive water tower that guarded the Gihon Spring (I Kings 1 where Solomon was made king). Here we also started our walk through Hezekiah’s Tunnel (2 Kings 20, 2 Chronicles 32). Others walked through the dry (and earlier) Canaanite tunnel. Both groups converged at the Pool of Siloam where we read John 9 in dramatic fashion.
Southern Wall Excavations / Western Wall
Driving to the south-wall excavations of the Temple (some walked up through the Herodian drainage channel), we stood on a Herodian street (that Jesus would have used!) under Robinson’s Arch at the SW corner of the Temple. The massive stones of the temple that Herod built starting in 20 BC were huge! Later, we walked up the southern steps of the Temple. We recalled everyone who used these steps in the days of the New Testament (Luke 2, 18; John 2, Acts 2, etc…). The stones are massive here too. No wonder the disciples were so impressed, see Mark 13:1-2). Before leaving this area, some circled back to the Western Wall while others took off for some free time for the rest of the afternoon.
We returned to the hotel for our farewell dinner. Some in the group are scheduled to fly home late tonight while 61 of us cross into Jordan tomorrow.