Day 10 – Thursday, November 10: City of David, Hezekiah’s Tunnel, Southern Wall Excavations, Western Wall, Free Time, Garden Tomb
Today was our last day in Jerusalem. The weather was once again sunny in the morning, with mixed clouds in the afternoon, with highs in the mid 60s. We experienced a lot, with many Old and New Testament connections! We left the hotel at 7:30, reading Psalm 48 as we departed.
City of David
We drove down through the Hinnom Valley, and then up the Tyropean Valley to get to the City of David. It is located outside the Old City today. We first got a great view of the area from the observation tower before we walked down through the excavations of Area G (where Dr. John dug for a month in 1982) and Warren’s Shaft. At the Gihon Spring is where some in the group accessed the entrance to Hezekiah’s Tunnel, a 1,710-foot tunnel chiseled in 701 BC. We walked in water through this amazing discovery mentioned in 2 Kings 20, 2 Chronicles 32, and Isaiah 8:6. Others walked through the “dry” Canaanite tunnel. Both groups converged at the Pool of Siloam where we read John 9 in dramatic fashion!
Following our reading, we all got a peak at the southern end of the stone pavement that descends south from there area of the Temple. In the days of Jesus, this street was lined with shops. Since the planned walk up the Drainage Channel was closed, we all then bussed up to the Davidson Center to see the Southern Excavations of the Temple. Many Bar Mitzvah celebrations were happening here! Within the center, we saw the SW corner of the Temple (with massive Herodian stones), the Herodian pavement, and the southern steps that would have led into the Temple in Jesus’ day. We recalled the many times Jesus and the disciples (and Paul) used these steps. Whereas the Temple was a magnificent building (Mark 13:1-2), we are to be the Temple (1 Corinthians 3)!
“Today was our last day in Jerusalem. We had a great morning visiting the City of David (Hezekiah’s Tunnel was amazing!) and some free time to explore on our own in the afternoon. It was very special to end the day with a Worship & Communion time at the Garden Tomb.”
Western Wall/Free Time
Close by is the Western Wall, the most holy place for Jewish people today! The area of buzzing with excitement with the many Bar Mitzvah kids reading the Torah passage of the day. This western wall served as a retaining wall for the expanded platform of the Temple Mount above. We walked from the Western Wall (the Kotel) to Hurva Square, the heart of the Jewish Quarter. We enjoyed the free time for lunch, shopping, and exploring the Old City on our own.
At 3 p.m. we gathered to walk to the Garden Tomb. This is an alternative location for the crucifixion and burial site of Jesus. We saw the rocky scarp (Golgotha) and the proposed tomb. A special time of worship and Communion followed. We worship the Person, not the place.
We returned to our hotel for our Farewell Dinner. We shared in good conversation, thankful to God for the great experiences we encountered. Six in the group return home tomorrow, while the rest in the group cross the border into Jordan tomorrow morning.