DAY 12 – FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 11
Today was our last day in Jerusalem. The weather was pleasant, with highs again in the 80s. Enjoying sleeping in a bit and departing an hour later today (8:30), our first stop was the Garden Tomb. This site run by English believers provides an alternative location for the crucifixion and burial site of Jesus. After touring the premises and seeing the tomb, we enjoyed a time of worship and communion. We read from John 19 & 20. Since we worship the “person” rather than the “place,” we rejoiced together in the accomplished work of Christ for us!
Our next site was the City of David. As mentioned in the Bible (2 Samuel 5), it was David who conquered the city from the Jebusites. We saw the excavations of the eastern slope of the city, including ruins from First Temple days. Walking further down the eastern slope, we next entered Warren’s Shaft. We carefully descended through what was initially proposed in the 70s & 80s as the “water shaft” used by Joab to conquer the city (this view is no longer held). This led us to the huge water tower structure (Canaanite and Israelite) that guarded the spring.
At the Gihon Spring, most in the group entered Hezekiah’s Tunnel (mentioned in 2 Kings 20 and 22 Chronicles 32). This is a 1,720 foot-long tunnel chisseled out of the bedrock. Made by Hezekiah in advance of Sennecherib and the Assyrians, it was amazing to walk through. Others took the dry Canaanite tunnel. We converged at the Pool of Siloam where we sat on the steps and read John 9 (in dramatic fashion J).
From here, 10 walked up the Herodian drainage channel all the way to the south-wall excavations while others bussed up. We met at the SW corner of the Temple. Here we saw the massive Herodian street and the massive stones of the Temple toppled down by the Romans in 70 AD. We considered various stories from the Gospels of people who would have entered the Temple from the southern steps (Luke 2 & 18, Mark 12, John 10, Acts 2).
The rest of the afternoon was free to either grab a bite to eat or explore. We all had various experiences in the Old City, from shopping to people-watching. We returned to the hotel at 4:45.
14 in the group refreshed for the flight back tonight. Leaving the hotel at 6 p.m., a farewell dinner was enjoyed in Abu Gosh before driving the rest of the way to the airport for the 11:30 p.m. flight home. The rest in the group (those going to Egypt tomorrow morning and “land only” travelers staying an extra day or two) enjoyed dinner at the hotel.
It was a great last day in this special city!
DAY 13 – SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 12: FLIGHT HOME or FLIGHT TO CAIRO