DAY 8 – SUNDAY, JUNE 23: CITY OF DAVID, HEZEKIAH’S TUNNEL, SILOAM POOL, DRAINAGE CHANNEL, SHORASHIM, FREE TIME IN THE AFTERNOON
Today was another sunny day, with highs in the high 80s. With a blend of Old and New Testament experiences, we once again connected with the Bible in eye-opening ways!
City of David
Leaving again at 7:30, we drove to the City of David. First, we enjoyed an overlook of the area from an observation deck. This was followed by watching a 3D movie that covered some biblical history of this ancient city. Walking down to “Area G” of the excavations, we saw parts of David’s palace and other Israelite ruins.
Further down the slope we walked through Warren’s Shaft. This was believed to be the “shaft” (52 feet) up through which David’s men used to conquer the Jebusite city (2 Samuel 5). This view is no longer held because of what was newly discovered near the Gihon Spring in recent years.
Descending all the way down to the Gihon Spring, we saw the massive stones that once was a part of a tower that protected this water source. Here, many entered Hezekiah’s Tunnel, a 1,720 for tunnel cut with chisels at the end of the 8th century (701 BC, see II Kings 19-20, 2 Chronicles 32, Isaiah 8:6). Sennacherib, the Assyrian King surrounded the city then, but God intervened. Both groups converged at the Pool of Siloam where we read John 9 in dramatic fashion. This pool was discovered about 10 years ago now. The ancient Jewish Water Libation Festival during the Feast of Succot (Tabernacles) incorporated this pool into the celebration of God’s provision (see John 7).
“For sure, one of the highlights for me so far on this trip has been Hezekiah’s Tunnel! What an amazing experience to walk through this ancient tunnel chiseled through the rock. How they did this is beyond imagination. And walking through water added to the experience! Incredible!” –Tour Member-
South Wall Excavations
Our next visit was to the south wall excavations. Part of the group bussed there while others in the group walked through the newly-discovered drainage channel. This channel was built under the Herodian street that connection the Temple Mount with the Pool of Siloam. It also served the purpose of diverting rain/run-off water to the pool. Both groups converged at the SW corner (pinnacle?) of the Temple where was saw what was left of a large archway (“Robinson’s Arch”) that provided access into the Temple for dignitaries. From here was walked to the southern steps of the Temple where we recalled all those who used these steps and the southern gates above the steps to enter the Temple. This included Jesus and His disciples (see Luke 2, 19; Mark 12, 13; John 2, 10; Acts 3, 5, to name a few).
Jewish Quarter / Moshe’s / Free Time
From here we walked up to the Jewish Quarter for lunch and some free time. We also visited Shorashim, a store owned by two Orthodox Jews. Moshe, one of the brothers, shared with us a little about his Jewish faith. After some more free time, we returned back to the hotel for dinner. Following dinner, some walked to the Jewish marketplace (Mahane Yehuda).