Another bright and sunny morning greeted us as we left for the Temple Mount at 7 a.m. Unfortunately, due to a Muslim holiday, it was closed. On the good side of things, this allowed us to visit the City of David excavations and walk through Warren’s Shaft and Hezekiah’s Tunnel alone without any other groups ahead or behind us. 2 Samuel 5 was referenced in how David conquered the city from the Jebusites, while 2 Kings 20 & 2 Chronicles were referenced about Hezekiah’s tunnel. 13 of us walked through this 1,720 foot “wet” tunnel” while the others went through the older “dry” Canaanite tunnel. Hezekiah’s tunnel is pitch dark and about shoulder width. The water level was just below the knee. We met up together at the Pool of Siloam (John 9). From here we walked through a unique and present excavation, the Herodian drainage channel! Walking through this underground channel required patience as well as ducking our heads a few times, as we ascended slowly to the SW corner of the Temple Mount. Here we saw the stones brought down in the 70 AD destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans, and walked on the actual street used in Jesus’ day. We also walked up the southern temple steps, where Acts 2 was read.
About noon, we had a two hours of free time. With the many Bar Mitzvah celebrations going on at the Western Wall, most of us enjoyed encountering this. We all grabbed a bite to eat in the Jewish Quarter once again before meeting/walking together to get our bus to take us to our final stop of the day, the Garden Tomb.
Visiting this alternative place for Christ’s death and burial allowed us to spend some quiet times of worship and Communion. We enjoyed the Swedish guide/volunteer who showed us the site. As we can’t be sure of the actual place of Christ’s tomb, we worship not the place but the person. It was a great way to end of touring.
We came back to the hotel for dinner, with some enjoying an optional walk to Ben Yehuda Street. On the way, we saw Christina Amenpaur (from ABC & CNN) report a segment about the Israeli issues they face with Hamas in Gaza. She dramatically reported, “It’s a tense night in Jerusalem…” We didn’t sense any “tension” at all. As we experienced a little modern Israeli life, it was lots of fun!