DAY 13 – FRIDAY, MARCH 23: CITY OF DAVID, HEZEKIAH’S TUNNEL, SOUTHERN WALL EXCAVATIONS, FREE AFTERNOON, GARDEN TOMB
Today was our last full day here in Israel the land of the Bible! The sun was bright again with temps in the mid 80s today. Wow… what a great streak of weather we have had the last two weeks! Praise God!
Southern Wall Excavations
Departing once again this morning at 7:30 after breakfast, we drove to the southern wall excavations. Walking in the Dung gate, we focus here was to retrace the steps of Jesus here. The Temple Mount expansion project of Herod began in 20 BC, and seeing how massive these stones were was incredible. Even Jesus’ disciples made a similar comment (Mark 13:1-2). Here we saw not only massive stones, but we walked on the same Herodian pavement as Jesus did! Here at the SW corner of the Temple may have been the same location of Jesus’ temptation. On the southern end of the Temple we walked up the very same steps Jesus did. Sitting on the steps we recalled the stories from the NT of those who used the same steps (Mark 12, Luke 2,18; John 10; Acts 2,3,5).
City of David
Walking south out of the Dung gate again, we arrived at the City of David. We first viewed the area from an observation tower before watching a 3-D movie about the history of the city. We focused on David’s conquering of the city of Jesus (2 Samuel 5), and Hezekiah’s defense of the city against the Assyrians (2 Kings 20, 2 Chr. 32, Is. 36-37), the Babylonian destruction of the city (2 Chr. 36), and Nehemiah’s rebuilding of the city (Neh. 6).
We walked past David’s palace (2 Samuel 5), through the “Area G” excavations, and descending down through Warren’s Shaft. Arriving at the Gihon Spring (where Solomon was brought into kingship, 1 Kings 1), most walked through Hezekiah’s Tunnel (1,720 feet long) while some walked through the “dry” Canaanite tunnel. Both groups converged at the Pool of Siloam where we read from John 9 in dramatic fashion.
Drainage Channel / Jewish Quarter
While the bus drove some in the group up to the Jewish Quarter for lunch, others walked up through the Herodian drainage channel back to the SW corner of the Temple. We literally walked under the Herodian stone pavement all the way back up to the SW corner of the Temple! We then enjoyed lunch and free time on our own for 2 hours.
We ended the day at the Garden Tomb. After touring the place (e.g. seeing the proposed “Hill of Golgatha” and the tomb of Jesus), we enjoyed a time of worship and Communion together. It was very special!
We returned back to the hotel by bus for our farewell dinner. It was a good time celebrating our rich experiences and blessings on this trip. Some in the group flew home tonight, while most fly home tomorrow.
DAY 14 – SATURDAY, MARCH 24: ARRIVE HOME
We plan arrive back in the States are various times, and then getting our connection flights home. Thanks be to God for a life-transforming trip!