DAY 9 – TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 26: CITY OF DAVID, HEZEKIAH’S TUNNEL, SOUTHERN WALL EXCAVATIONS, A FEW FREE HOURS, GARDEN TOMB
Today was our last day in Jerusalem, and it was another great one! We were once again blessed with sun and temps in the 60s, although it cooled into the 50s in the afternoon.
City of David
After breakfast, we boarded the bus and drove to the City of David. Looking north from the observation deck, we could see the southern end of the Temple. Looking across the Kidron Valley we could see the Mt. Of Olives. And looking south we could see the area known as the City of David. After watching a 3D movie, we descended down through “Area G” of the excavations where Dr. John dug in the early 80s. We remembered the stories of the conquest of Jesus by David (2 Samuel 5) and the story of Hezekiah (2 Kings 19-20, 2 Chr. 32, Isaiah 36-37). We saw the area defined as David’s palace. Walking further down the slope of this ancient city, we descended down through Warren’s Shaft (previously thought to be the “water shaft” through which David’s men infiltrated the city) to get to the Gihon Spring. Dividing into two groups, some walked through the “wet” Hezekiah’s Tunnel (1,720 feet long), while others walked through the “dry” Canaanite tunnel. Both groups converged at the Pool of Siloam where we read from John 9 in dramatic fashion.
“Today was our last day in Jerusalem. The coolest thing we did today was walk through Hezekiah’s Tunnel. The most meaningful experience was to walk on the steps of the Temple. The most inspirational moment was our service at the Garden Tomb.” -Tour Member-
South Wall Excavations
From here some bussed to the southern excavations of the Temple while others walked through part of the Herodian drainage channel. Under the SW corner of the Temple, we walked on Herodian streets and saw the massive stones toppled by the Romans in 70 AD. On the southern steps (used by Jesus to enter the Temple), we remembered the stories from the Gospels and Acts of all those who walked on these very steps (e.g. Luke 2, Mark 13, Acts 2, etc…)
For there next almost three hours we had free time on our own. We grabbed a bite to eat, shopped, and explored on our own. It was a fun adventure for all!
In the mid afternoon we walked through the Muslim Quarter of the Old City and out the Damascus Gate to the Garden Tomb. Located north of the Old City, the Garden Tomb is an alternative location for the crucifixion and burial place of Jesus. We enjoyed a time of worship and Communion here.
We drove back to the hotel for our farewell dinner. Some in the group are flying home on a late-night flight and we transported by Shlomo and David to the airport. The rest of us either fly home tomorrow morning or fly to Egypt to the optional extension.