Day 10 – Monday, May 13: Pools of Bethesda, St. Anne’s Church, Garden Tomb, City of David, Southern Wall Excavations, Holy Sepulcher Church


Today was our last full day here in Israel. All but one of us will be flying early tomorrow morning to Athens, Greece for the optional extension. This final day here in Jerusalem included more archaeology, adventure, worship & Communion, and many connections with the Bible. The weather started a bit cool (50s), but it warmed up to close to the mid 60s in the afternoon. We read from Psalm 48 as we left the hotel at 7:30 once again.


Pools of Bethesda / St. Anne’s Church

We drove to the NE corner of the Old City where we were dropped off.  We walked to the Eastern (Golden) Gate to get a up-close view of this closed gate before entering the Lion’s Gate (St. Stephen’s, Jericho) to the Pools of Bethesda. Here we read from John 5 about Jesus healing the paralytic. On the same grounds as this archaeological site is St. Anne’s Church. We enjoyed the 7-8 second echo as we sang a few songs in this Crusader church.


Garden Tomb

We then walked through the Muslim Quarter and out the Damascus Gate to the Garden Tomb. Located north of the Old City, this is an alternative “Protestant” 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. 


City of David

We got back on the bus and drove to the southern side of the Old City where we entered the City of David. After gathering on the observation tower, we walked down through the excavations (“Area G”). We saw David’s palace, city walls, and 7th-6th BC house structures (one of them was excavated/uncovered by Dr. John in June-July, 1982). We all continued through Warren’s Shaft (2 Samuel 5). The upper part of this discovery was probably used by David but not the vertical 52 foot shaft. Finally, we descended down to the Canaanite/Jebusite pool to the Gihon Spring. Following seeing a new movie about the tunnel, everyone in the group braved the waters of the 1,710 foot-long Hezekiah’s Tunnel (2 Kings 20, 2 Chronicles 32). At the Pool of Siloam is where we read John 9 in dramatic fashion. The excavation of the Pool of Siloam continues to expose more and more of the original steps.


Southern Wall Excavations

From here, most in the group walked through the stone “Drainage Tunnel” underneath the pavement that dates to 30 AD. Others short a taxi to the SW corner of the Temple. Here, we walked on the Herodian pavement underneath what is left of an archway discovered by Edward Robinson in 1838. This SW corner of the Temple may have been the pinnacle of the Temple where Jesus was tempted (Mt. 4). We walked up the southern steps used by commoners in Jesus’ day. Jesus Himself would have used these steps to enter the Temple. We recalled the many mentioned in the NT who used these steps (Luke 2, 18; John 2; Mark 13; and Acts 2, etc…). Before leaving the steps, we considered how God wants us to be His spiritual temple (2 Corinthians 3).

“The last full day in Israel was today. It was a day of archaeology, reflection, worship & Communion (at the Garden Tomb), and adventure. This included a walk through Hezekiah’s Tunnel. Thanks be to God for His watch-care for us throughout the trip!”
Jerusalem Temple Steps May 2024 Israel Tour John DeLancey

Holy Sepulcher Church / Free Time

Following a time of reflection and prayer on the steps, we walked “up” to the Christian Quarter of the Old City. We went inside the Holy Sepulcher Church. Built in 325 AD, this is the traditional location for the death and burial place of Jesus. The archaeological and historical records favor this site. We saw the Edicule that has enclosed the suggested tomb of Christ for now nearly 1600 years. Some even went inside the the suggested tomb of Christ. To end the day, we enjoyed some free time in the Christian Quarter.

We returned to our hotel for our “Farewell Dinner” and an early bedtime since we leave for the Tel Aviv Airport in the early morning hours. It was a great Israel trip of a lifetime!


Day 11 – Tuesday, May 14: Greece Optional Extension: Flight to Athens

Jerusalem St. Anne's Church May 2024 Israel Tour John DeLancey
Jerusalem Hezekiah's Tunnel May 2024 Israel Tour John DeLancey
Jerusalem Temple Steps May 2024 Israel Tour John DeLancey
Jerusalem Garden Tomb May 2024 Israel Tour John DeLancey
Jerusalem SW Corner Temple May 2024 Israel Tour John DeLancey
Jerusalem Holy Sepulcher May 2024 Israel Tour John DeLancey

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