DAY 11, WEDNESDAY, NOV 20

IMG_2774The morning started once again at 7:20.  We wanted to get an early start in order to get to the Temple Mount.  Ascending to the Temple Mount right past the Western Wall, we gathered on top and talked about the history of this massive platform built by Herod, a platform where once stood the Temple itself.  Today, the  Muslim Dome of the Rock and Al Asca Mosque stand on top.  The Arabs also destroyed the lower chambers of the Temple Mount (and literally dumped-trucked it out and dumped it in the Kidron Valley below) in order to build a larger underground mosque.  We referred to the many stories from the Gospels that happened here.

IMG_2814Descending the Temple Mount near St. Stephen’s Gate (Lion’s Gate), we visited the Pools of Bethesda (“house of mercy”).  We saw the foundation of the 5 porches as mentioned in John 5.  We also enjoyed a time of singing in St Anne’s church, a Crusader church where the acoustics / echo is about 10 seconds long.  We sounded like a choir.

After eating lunch at Ramat Rachel, a kibbutz just south of the city overlooking Bethlehem, we spent the rest of the afternoon visiting the City of David and southern excavations.  We saw portions of David’s palace, “Area G” (where Pastor John excavated 31 years ago), and the huge tower guarding the lone source spring of the city, the Gihon Spring.  With water shoes and flashlights in hand, we then walked through Hezekiah’s Tunnel, a 1,720 foot water tunnel.  It was very fun.

IMG_2873We exited the tunnel at the Pool of Siloam.  Here we sat on the very steps of this pool where we read John 9 and the miracle of the blind man being healed.  From here, we uniquely ascended back to the SW corner of the Temple through the newly-excavated drainage channel that ran underneath the Roman street above.  We exited this “tunnel” at “Robinson’s Arch” where we sat along the very Roman street used by people in the days of Jesus.  Finally, we walked up the southern steps of the Temple (the main entrance into the Temple).  We ended the day by sitting on the steps and recalling the stories from the Gospels and the Book of Acts that took place here.

We returned to our hotel for dinner.  Many enjoyed the optional walk.  We taxied up to the Mt. of Olives for the view of the Temple Mount at night.  From here we then walked back to the hotel through the Old City.

DAYS 12-13, THURSDAY-FRIDAY, NOV 21-22

We look forward to our free day tomorrow.  It’s our last day before flying home tomorrow night. (A posting/update will be made if there is enough time)

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