DAY 12 –THURSDAY – MAY 30 – OLD CITY – TEMPLE MOUNT – WESTERN WALL TUNNEL – CITY OF DAVID – ARCHAEOLOGICAL TEMPLE MOUNT SIFTING PROJECT
We begin the day early (a 7 a.m. departure) by entering the Old City through the Dung Gate. Standing in line for only 10 minutes or so, we entered the Temple Mount. The Temple Mount was the location of both Solomon’s and Herod’s temples (commonly referred to as the 1st and 2nd Temples). We discussed the location of the Temple in relationship to today’s “Eastern Gate.” Leaving this area, we then visited the Western Wall for a brief time before we entered the Western Wall Tunnel that runs 400 yards to the north. This wall served as the retaining wall for the expanded Herodian temple.
At the end of the tunnel walk, we walked along the Eastern wall of the Temple. Getting our flashlights and water shoes from the bus, we then headed to the City of David excavations. Here, we saw remnants of David’s palace, as well as other ruins from the days of the Old Testament. We referred to 2 Samuel 5 about the method that David’s men used in order to conquer this Jebusite city.
Further down the eastern slope of the City of David we then entered Hezekiah’s Tunnel. Starting at the Gihon Spring, we all walked through water just below our knee to the end. This 1,720 foot tunnel is referred to in 2 Kings 20, 2 Chronicles 32, and Isaiah 36. The tunnel ends at the Siloam Pool (John 9). From here, we ascended back up to the SW corner of the Temple (near Robinson’s Arch) through the Herodian drainage channel. It was a unique experience. Next, we visited the southern area of the temple, including the steps that led into the Temple itself. Here, we referred to Luke 1, Mark 13, and Acts 2.
We ended our day by participating in the Temple Mount “Sifting Project.” Carefully sifting through debris brought from the Temple Mount itself (as a result of the Muslim careless expansion of their underground mosque), we found a few interesting artifacts. We returned back to the hotel at 4:45 p.m.
Following dinner, a few of us taxied up to the Mt. of Olives for the view at night. We then walked back down and through the Old City to our hotel. A long, but another exciting day in Jerusalem!