DAY 13 – THURSDAY, MAY 16: GARDEN TOMB, CITY OF DAVID, HEZEKIAH’S TUNNEL, SOUTHERN WALL EXCAVATIONS, A FEW HOURS FREE TIME
Today was our last day of the tour and here in Jerusalem. Once again, the temps reached the low 90s, with sunny skies. It was a day that included worship, Communion, visiting archaeological sites, and some free time.
Taking off at 8 am this morning, we read from Psalm 137 on the way to the Garden Tomb. This site serves as an alternative location for the crucifixion area and burial tomb of Jesus. We enjoyed a time of worship and Communion here as well. We read from John 19-20.
City of David
Driving around the north and east sides of the Old City, we were dropped off at the City of David excavations. Following viewing the area for the observation deck and watching a 3-D movie about OT Jerusalem, we descended down through the excavations. Here we saw both Jebusite and Israelite ruins, including the palace of David. We read from 2 Samuel 5 (David conquering the city by use of the water shaft) and 2 Chronicles 32 (about Hezekiah carving a water tunnel out of the bedrock). We walked down through Warren’s Shaft on our way to the Gihon Spring (where Solomon was initiated into kingship, 1 Kings 1).
“Walking through Hezekiah’s Tunnel today was an amazing experience. This tunnel project was an incredible feat done with just chisels. The neatest thing about it is that it is mentioned in the Bible!” -Tour Member-
Hezekiah’s Tunnel / Canaanite Tunnel / Siloam Pool
Here, we split into two groups. Some in the group walked through the 1,720 foot Hezekiah’s Tunnel it still flows with water) while others walked through the dry Canaanite tunnel. Both groups converged at the Pool of Siloam. While sitting on the very steps of this pool, we read in dramatic fashion the story from John 9.
South Wall Excavations
From here, some walked through the Herodian drainage channel (that ran under the street) while others bussed to the South Wall excavations. Here we walked on a Herodian street no doubt used by Jesus. We also saw massive stones, remnants of an archway (Robinson’s Arch). On the southern end of the Temple, we walked up and then sat on the very steps that Jesus would have used to enter the Temple. We remembered some of the stories from the NT about the Temple (Luke 2,18; Mark 13; John 10; Acts 2,3, and 5).
Free Time / Farewell Dinner
Over the next 2+ hours, we all enjoyed some free time. We explored the Old City on our own. We returned to our hotel shortly after 5. At 6:30 we shared in our farewell dinner. We all shared words of thanks for Shlomo and David, our new Israeli friends, for taking such good care of us. After dinner, some enjoyed an optional quiet walk on the southern promenade.
DAY 14 – FRIDAY, MAY 17: FLIGHT HOME, ARRIVE IN U.S.
The group is scheduled to fly home on three primary flights early this morning (1, 5 and 7 a.m.).