Monday, March 17 – Day 9
It was a perfect weather day in Jerusalem … sunny and mild. We started from the hotel at 7:45 this morning. We drove just a few minutes to our first site, the “South Wall excavations.” This entire area, excavated in the 1970s up through today, pertains to the 2nd Temple Period, or the time of the New Testament. We walked up the very Temple southern steps, the primary entry into the Temple courts from the common population. While sitting on the steps, we referred to the stories mentioned in Luke 2 (Simeon), Luke 17 (Pharisee and tax collector), Mark 12 (question of which is the greatest command), Mark 13 (a passing comment made by the disciples about how impressed they were with the building of the Temple), and Acts 2 (Peter’s Pentecost/Shavuot sermon when 3,000 became believers).
Close by, we walked to the SW corner of the Temple and saw the Romans pavement below, the Temple stones toppled by the Romans in 70 AD, and remnants of “Robinson’s Arch” (a priestly entry into the Temple).
Leaving this area, we entered the “Western Wall Tunnel.” We walked parallel to this western retaining wall (about 1,200 feet), being impressed with how Herod the Great’s builders placed all these stones (especially the “Master Stone” weighing over 500 tons). From the end of this tunnel, we walked about to the Western Wall. Many went up to the Wall to pray. Many Bar Mitzvah celebrations were going on. We ate lunch in the Jewish Quarter.
The afternoon as spent by visiting the City of David. We learned the stories of 2 Samuel 5 (David conquering the Jebusites), and 2 Kings 20 / 2 Chronicles 32 (Hezekiah and the water tunnel). We visited the excavations, “Warren’s Shaft,” and Hezekiah’s Tunnel. Many walked through this 1,720 foot tunnel through the water. It was a blast! The tunnel exits at the Siloam Pool where we read John 9 while sitting on the pool’s very steps!
We returned to the hotel for dinner, with some enjoying an optional walk and ice cream at the old Railroad Station.
Tuesday, March 18 – Day 10
This is our free day in Jerusalem. We are looking forward to it!